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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Midnight tonight brings what has proven to be a fake NAFTA deadline.

What's happening: Trump's negotiating team was working under the theory that they had to sign the new NAFTA agreement on Nov. 30 because the incoming Mexican leftist leader Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who takes office in December, would not sign NAFTA 2.0. Trade Promotion Authority rules dictate that the U.S. government must release text of any new agreement 60 days before signing — and that's midnight tonight.

  • But that working theory blew up this week. On Friday, Obrador said — point blank — that Mexico would not be reopening the deal and that he'd live with what has already been negotiated.
  • That's important because the whole U.S. theory of tonight's deadline was that Obrador was going to demand a renegotiated deal if it passed into his hands in December.

The bottom line: A new NAFTA deal between the U.S., Canada and Mexico seems close, even imminent. But it's unclear, as of 4 p.m. today, the extent to which these disagreements are substantive or of a technical nature.

  • Even if they don't get a deal today, Congress could turn a blind eye to the 60-day deadline.
  • This all sounds complicated. But basically, Congress can make whatever rules it wants for the Trade Promotion Authority — a gentleman's agreement between Congress and the executive branch to get straightforward votes on the president's trade deals.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Rahm Emanuel floated for Transportation secretary

Rahm Emanuel. Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

President-elect Biden is strongly considering Rahm Emanuel to run the Department of Transportation, weighing the former Chicago mayor’s experience on infrastructure spending against concerns from progressives over his policing record.

Why it matters: The DOT could effectively become the new Commerce Department, as infrastructure spending, smart cities construction and the rollout of drone-delivery programs take on increasing economic weight.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden turns to experienced hands for White House economic team

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Joe Biden plans to announce Cecilia Rouse and Brian Deese as part of his economic team and Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: These are experienced hands. Unveiling a diverse group of advisers also may draw attention away from a selection of Deese to run the National Economic Council. Some progressives have criticized his work at BlackRock, the world's largest asset management firm.

Biden taps former Obama communications director for press secretary

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Jen Psaki, who previously served as Obama's communications director, will serve as President-elect Joe Biden's press secretary, the transition team announced Sunday.

The big picture: All of the top aides in Biden's communication staff will be women, per the Washington Post, which first reported Psaki's appointment.