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September 16, 2019

U.S. Lawmakers Increasingly Optimistic About USMCA Passage

Based on comments from members of Congress and the Trump administration over the last week, it is clear that momentum is building toward a positive congressional vote on the United States, Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA), possibly this fall or during the early winter.

To start, U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer formally responded to congressional Democrats’ concerns about the USMCA, reviving negotiations that had stalled between the Trump administration and the nine-member Democratic working group appointed this past summer by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). (As a reminder, House Democrats have brought up concerns related to labor and environmental standards and enforcement of prescription drug standards.)

Positive public comments by members of Congress and members of the Trump administration also indicate we could see movement in the House and Senate this fall. These statements include:

  • House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who leads the Democrats’ Working Group, told Bloomberg that “there has been significant progress on two of four issues that Democrats sought to change” in the agreement. Additionally, according to Politico, other House Democrats said they “believe they are making progress with the Trump administration over how to fix their concerns with the new North American trade agreement.”
  • On CNBC, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said, “We’re hoping to get this thing [the USMCA] done within the next 30 to 60 days.” He also referred to the USMCA as “the big deal.”
  • Inside U.S. Trade, which reported the USMCA “has bipartisan support,” and said several Democratic and Republican House members attested the pact is likely to pass Congress this year.

As a reminder, the National Association of Manufacturers is gathering signatures on a letter to send to members of Congress asking them to support the USMCA. Click here to read and sign the letter. Signatures are due no later than September 20, 2019.

To learn more about the USCMA, visit the USMCA Coalition, which the Metals Service Center Institute is a member of.