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House passes USMCA free trade deal

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The House voted 385-41 Thursday to pass a revised version of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade pact President Trump negotiated to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Why it matters: Completing the trade deal has been one of President Trump's biggest policy goals in 2019. House Democrats' decision to back it earlier this month highlights how they want something concrete to bring home to their constituents ahead of the new year as well, even after voting to impeach the president on Wednesday night.

The big picture, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: No traditional Republican would have agreed to this deal in the pre-Trump era. It's a deal tailor-made for organized labor and protectionist Democrats.

  • That Republicans are willing to vote for it is a testament to the awesome power Trump wields over his party.
  • Trump didn't care about traditional GOP trade priorities and he made Republicans irrelevant to the negotiations.
  • It also ends up being good politics for Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who managed to sandwich Wednesday's impeachment vote in between two governing votes: a Tuesday vote to fund the government and a Thursday vote to pass the USMCA.

What's next: The bill now goes to the Senate, where it will be voted on after the new year.

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