The House of Representatives voted to approve President Trump’s revised NAFTA agreement, called the USMCA, just hours after voting to impeach him for abuse of power and obstruction of justice the previous night, The Washington Post reports.
The House voted 385-41 to approve the bill after extensive negotiations between the White House and Congress. The Senate is expected to vote on the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement early next year.
The agreement is backed by a number of major labor unions. The agreement was signed by the leaders of all three country’s last year after Trump ran on replacing the NAFTA deal, which he decried as terrible.
“We now have a wonderful deal, and if we didn’t have a good deal, do you know what I would have done?” Trump said a rally on Wednesday. "I would’ve have put tariffs on both countries and that would have been it, right?”
Dems avoided Trump during negotiations:
Democrats negotiated directly with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to “circumvent the frayed relationship between the president” and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to the Post.
Pelosi appointed a nine-member group that spent months negotiating with Lighthizer.
Pelosi and House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal took over the negotiations last month and brought in AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka as well.
“House Democrats, who viewed the initial deal as unacceptable, achieved substantial changes. They jettisoned pharmaceutical protections sought by drug companies and added provisions ensuring higher labor standards in Mexico, quicker dispute resolution, higher environmental standards and stronger enforcement of all elements of the deal,” The Post reported.
AFL-CIO played large part in negotiations:
Pelosi was determined to get Trumka’s support for the agreement, according to the report. Trumka was on the fence until the final days of negotiations.
Trumka visited concerned Democrats eager to pass a deal and urged them to hold out for more.
Ahead of the vote, Trumka sent a letter to lawmakers urging them to vote for the deal.
“It does provide a new standard from which to improve upon in future trade negotiations,” he said. “Rejecting it would leave the deeply flawed existing NAFTA in place for the foreseeable future.”