After Announcing Impeachment Charges, House Dems Throw Trump A Trade Bone

Daniel Fowler
December 10, 2019

"Importantly, we will finally end our Country's worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!", the president said in a tweet.

Trump had accused Pelosi of being incapable of passing the agreement because she is too wrapped up in impeachment. He said he would probably return on Monday to continue talks. "I think we set a world record for hanging up on each other", Neal said Tuesday in a Capitol Hill press conference.

One point of contention is over steel, after the U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, made a last-minute demand for a revised definition of what would constitute North American steel under automotive rules of origin. Concerns had been growing that House Democrats in the USA would not ratify the deal before 2020, after which attention would turn toward the presidential election and ongoing impeachment proceedings.

Pelosi said it wasn't a "coincidence" that there were back-to-back press conferences announcing impeachment and then the trade deal.

USMCA will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which helped devastate manufacturing across wide swaths of the United States due to encouraging companies to move factories outside the United States.

On Friday evening, he had said many issues still needed to be resolved. The agreement now includes stronger provisions for enforcement, including labor attaches on the ground in Mexico to assure that Mexico is complying with its promises on workers' rights.

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The United Autoworkers described it as a "step in the right direction" but, along with other labor leaders such as AFL-CIO chief Richard Trumka, raised concerns that it might not be enforced rigorously enough.

The original NAFTA badly divided Democrats but the new pact is more protectionist and labor-friendly, and Pelosi is confident it won't divide the party, though some liberal activists took to social media to carp at the agreement. "In so doing he undermined our national security and jeopardized the integrity of our next election", Schiff said, adding that criticisms of the impeachment inquiry as rushed amount to one question: "Why don't you just let him cheat in one more election?"

Freeland said Canadian officials "have been working intensively, including (having) many conversations over the weekend and this morning with our American partners on getting the deal finalized".

"She worked to try and make sure people are making it better, make sure there aren't people spun up,"said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., calling the new accord "a better end result".

The announcement came one day after Richard Trumka, president of The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organization (AFL-CIO), said that a deal was reached between Democrats and the White House and his union was reviewing it.

The pact contains provisions created to nudge manufacturing back to the United States.

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