Dow Will Hit 30,000 If USMCA Passes, Fed Cuts Rates: Navarro
U.S. President Donald Trump told Congress to approve his trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, saying it would bring jobs to the U.S. and stop factories from leaving.
“I’m calling on Congress to pass the USMCA,” Trump told an audience in Milwaukee on Friday, referring to the trade pact. “Every day that goes by it gets more and more political.”
Democrats haven’t yet signed onto Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying they want to change provisions on pharmaceuticals, the environment, labor and overall enforcement of the accord.
The fate of the deal depends on Trump persuading Democrats who control the U.S. House to support it. Officials in his own administration are divided over how hard to press lawmakers for a quick vote.
As the 2020 presidential campaign heats up, Trump has argued he’s a better trade negotiator than Democrats and that the USMCA is proof.
At the event Friday, hosted at a Lockheed Martin Corp. facility, Trump said the new deal “will close the biggest loopholes that caused the mass exodus” of manufacturing jobs from the U.S.
He said the pact could bring Administration Dividemore than 1 million jobs to the U.S. The U.S. International Trade Commission, which provides trade data to the government, has estimated the agreement would add 176,000 jobs in the sixth year after it’s passed.
“The USMCA will be the most modern, cutting-edge trade agreement in history with the strongest protections for the American worker ever put in any trade agreement, and that was the single most important thing to me,” Trump said.
Administration officials who want to give Speaker Nancy Pelosi time to get House Democrats on board with the Nafta overhaul have the upper hand -- for now. The White House has stepped back from plans to try to force a vote, people familiar with the internal deliberations said.
But the White House’s patience on the new trade deal comes with a caveat: Democrats have to show progress negotiating changes in the next month so that trade officials can persuade Trump there’s a path to a vote in the near future.
Trump administration aides are split on the issue. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is in favor of working with Pelosi and addressing Democrats’ issues, while a group led by Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short is pushing for a vote before Congress’s six-week recess.
‘Keys’ to Vote
“I think that the reality is it’s more likely to happen this fall,” Short told Fox Business Network, adding that the House speaker holds the “keys” to getting a vote. His statement echoed comments made by White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow earlier this week.
According to people familiar with internal deliberations, Lighthizer’s push for more time to work with Democrats was met with criticism from those aides who believe patience is pointless because congressional Democrats have no intention to give Trump a political victory. They also believe that Lighthizer is foolish to put his trust in traditional anti-free-trade Democrats such as Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio to support the final agreement, the people said.
Short and those who agree with him have been targeting House Democrats who represent districts Trump carried in 2016, putting pressure on them to approve the agreement.
A delay deep into the fall risks making the trade deal a campaign issue among Democratic presidential contenders. If some were to come out against it, Pelosi could decide to shelve a vote.
‘Opportunity’ to Pass
Pelosi so far appears to be holding her caucus together on the issue, but it’s not clear what would happen if Trump decided to send an implementing bill before Democrats reach a deal. By law, that move would give Congress a limited number of days to bring the legislation to the floor for a vote.
Top Republicans in Congress are content to defer to the speaker for now.
“I think there is still the opportunity to get it passed. Ambassador Lighthizer is working really closely with Speaker Pelosi and her team about the concerns they have raised,” said second-ranking House Republican Steve Scalise. “If we were in the majority it would have already been passed.”
Pelosi has made clear both publicly and privately that forcing a vote before she gives her blessing, or following through on Trump’s threats to withdraw from the existing Nafta to increase leverage, are bad ideas.
House Democrats signaled progress Thursday after meeting with Lighthizer on USMCA’s labor provisions. Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon said he hopes for a vote in the fall but that he sees no deadline for when the agreement would come to the floor. He is in charge of changes to drug pricing provisions, and will lead a group of members who will travel to Mexico later this month to visit toxic sites and meet with labor leaders.