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Trump announces the new trade deal on Monday. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

While reaching an agreement with Mexico and Canada on an updated trade deal is a major win for the administration, that's just the beginning of the battle, which now heads to Congress and will likely stretch into next year.

The big picture: Forget about Congress approving this before the midterms. Passing major legislation is tricky even in less partisan times. But because of all the steps required, the push to implement the new trade deal will likely continue into the new Congress when the fate of the deal could easily be up to a Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

"I think it stretches into the next Congress ... There’s still some deadlines in place. They gotta sign the deal, and I don’t think we’ll be voting on it in Congress until next year."
— Sen. John Thune, a member of the GOP leadership

The details: Trade Promotion Authority, or TPA, sets a strict process outlining what happens next for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement:

  • 60 days after the trade agreement is released, Trump can sign it — so Nov. 30, in this case.
  • Within 60 days after Trump signs the trade agreement, a list of required changes in law is due. Within 105 days after the agreement is signed, an International Trade Commission report on the economic impact of the deal is due. These clocks can run concurrently.
  • After these are released, the administration can send implementing language to Congress, which starts the congressional process. There's no deadline to send it — the administration generally submits the legislation when it has the congressional votes to pass it.
  • Congress has a maximum of 90 legislative days to consider and implement the trade deal. That means passing implementation legislation, which needs to receive a simple majority in each chamber.
  • Congress can't amend the legislation, which means members are largely stuck — for better or worse — with the deal announced early this week. However, it can influence the drafting of implementation language. It can also use procedural levers to avoid voting on deals it doesn't like.

What we're watching: Leadership's main job is now to corral the votes for the deal. When it comes to trade, the differences between states and districts are vast, meaning that there are going to be a ton of stakeholders for members to consider, and each member will have unique considerations.

An early signal came from Sen. Ron Wyden, ranking member of the Finance Committee, who's making it clear that enforcement of trade policies will be a big deal.

  • "The overwhelming area of concern is enforcement of the trade laws, and whether these are different and really have teeth," he said. “I want to see a plan."

The bottom line: While Democrats' statements on the deal have so far been mild (a lot of "reviewing"), there will be plenty of political pressure against giving Trump any kind of win next year.

  • "I think the administration is hopeful that some of the things they’ve done are favorable to some of the Democrat constituencies, that they might get some Democrats to vote for it. But I’ll believe it when I see it," said Thune.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
3 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

3 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.

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