Speaking on Friday, President Trump continued to pressure Congress to work towards passing USMCA, the new trade negotiation involving the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
“I’m calling on Congress to pass USMCA and send it to my desk immediately for signature,” said Trump while speaking in Milwaukee, adding, “We shouldn’t be playing around.”
Trump continued to to explain that “Every day that goes by, [the issue] gets more and more political, because we get closer and closer to the election.”
Democrats, at the behest of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have indicated their disapproval of the NAFTA replacement, however, some have admitted that USMCA does come with several improvements over its predecessor.
President Donald Trump on Friday urged Congress to approve the new North American trade pact without delay, as concern grows that the deal could get caught up in 2020 election politics and be stalled indefinitely.
“I’m calling on Congress to pass USMCA and send it to my desk immediately for signature. We shouldn’t be playing around,” Trump said in remarks at Derco Aerospace Inc. in Milwaukee.
“Every day that goes by, it gets more and more political because we get closer and closer to the election,” he added.
Democrats are pushing for the Trump administration to make changes to the deal’s provisions on enforcement, labor and environmental standards. They also want the administration to drop a provision they argue would limit Congress’ ability to lower drug prices.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made clear she will not be rushed into allowing the NAFTA replacement to be put to a vote until the administration has addressed her party’s concerns. She has also dismissed the notion that presidential election politics will factor into consideration of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“It’s about the substance of the agreement, not the politics at all,” Pelosi said last month.
Trump touted that the new pact has the “toughest labor provisions, the highest environmental standards and the most comprehensive enforcement provisions ever implemented in a trade agreement.”
Democrats and labor unions have acknowledged that the deal has some improvements over the original NAFTA, but said they are not in favor of the new pact in its current form.
The Trump administration and Republicans have repeatedly expressed a desire to get USMCA approved by Congress before the month-long August recess. But with nine legislative days left before the break, that is not expected to happen.
Some lawmakers have said there’s room for the pact to be formally considered in Congress in September or October, but that largely depends on the outcome of negotiations between House Democrats and Trump’s trade chief.