Dec 10, 2019

House Democrats say they'll back USMCA

Richard Neal and Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) announced Tuesday that House Democrats plan to back the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

Why it matters: Completing the trade deal, designed to replace NAFTA, is one of President Trump's biggest policy goals for 2019. Democrats' decision to back it — despite unveiling articles of impeachment against the president only an hour prior — highlights how they want something to bring home to their constituents ahead of 2020 as well.

The big picture: The Trump administration has negotiated for months with Canada and Mexico to secure labor provisions, which were key to earning Democratic support.

  • On Tuesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka announced that the powerful union would endorse the deal, noting: "President Trump may have opened this deal. But working people closed it. And for that, we should be proud."
  • Pelosi said at the press conference: "There is no question, of course, that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA. But in terms of our work here, it is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration."

What's next: Negotiating teams from the three countries will meet in Mexico Tuesday to announce the changes and likely participate in a signing ceremony, according to Politico. Pelosi will bring a vote in the House next week before lawmakers depart for December recess.

Go deeper: The trade deal that might survive impeachment

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Nancy Pelosi defends House Dems backing USMCA

Nancy Pelosi and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal speak on the USMCA trade agreement, Dec. 10. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defended her statement on Tuesday at a Politico event that House Democrats would back the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), stressing the decision "isn't about politics and giving the president a win."

The big picture: Pelosi claimed that Democrats helped to secure a better agreement than the original draft, despite her expectation that Trump would take credit for the final version, she explained at Politico's Women Rule Summit.

Go deeperArrowDec 10, 2019

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.

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019

Mexicans throw 11th hour curveball at Trump's biggest trade deal

Nancy Pelosi and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal during a news conference on the USMCA trade agreement, Dec.10. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Democrats have a "tentative plan" to vote Thursday on the trade deal President Trump negotiated with Mexico and Canada to replace NAFTA, per a senior House Democratic aide, but Mexican officials are complicating those plans.

Driving the news: "Mexico's top trade negotiator plans to return to Washington ... to express his outrage over language in the U.S. bill to implement the new North American trade agreement," Politico's Sabrina Rodriguez reports.

Go deeperArrowDec 16, 2019