Despite congressional chaos, Pelosi sends positive signals on ratifying USMCA

Democrats and the Trump administration are close to resolving their differences over the deal

Amid the swirling chaos of impeachment proceedings on Capitol Hill, Nancy Pelosi is sounding bullish about the chances Congress may soon vote to ratify a modified version of Donald Trump’s cherished North American trade pact.

Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, says congressional Democrats and the Trump administration are close to resolving their differences over the deal, known stateside as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.

“If we can come to terms, (which) I think we’re close to doing, this will be a template for future trade agreements — it will not only be good of itself, but a good pattern for how we can proceed,” Pelosi said.

“We have an opportunity to do it right. We’re not there yet, but we understand the road — the last, shall we say, mile that we have to go. I’m optimistic.”

She made the remarks during a news conference in Washington after lawmakers in the House of Representatives voted 232-196 to approve ground rules for impeachment proceedings against the U.S. president.

Ever since it was reached a year ago, Pelosi has led a chorus of misgivings about the trade agreement’s provisions on labour, enforcement, prescription drugs and environmental standards.

Some observers feared the impeachment controversy would swamp efforts by the White House and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to get the deal ratified — something Trump desperately wants to be able to trumpet during his 2020 re-election efforts.

Recent media reports suggest Pelosi is keen to signal that Congress can still get things done even in the midst of something as disruptive as an impeachment trial.

Canada and Mexico, meanwhile, continue their patient wait. Mexico ratified the agreement — known there as T-MEC — in its Senate earlier this year, while the federal Liberal government has long signalled its intent to follow the American lead.

“I spoke with Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada, to congratulate him on his re-election,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador tweeted Thursday.

“We agree to maintain good relations and continue to convince U.S. congressmen about the importance of approving the T-MEC for the benefit of the three nations.”

The chairman of the U.S. House ways and means committee, Richard Neal, is to be in Ottawa next Wednesday, where he will meet with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to discuss the new North American Free Trade Agreement and the ratification process in both Canada and the U.S. He is also scheduled to meet with Trudeau.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Banks need to help people out with credit card interest

Reduce credit card interest rates and reduce them drastically

Underground utility work completed on Chemainus Road Corridor Project

Tendering process to determine a contractor to begin the second phase in mid-June

Void of summer events going to be felt in Chemainus

CBIA cancels Classics Car Show and Canada Day celebrations

Paid sick leave a must going forward

The chickens are coming home to roost, so to speak, on this issue during the COVID-19 pandemic.

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Man dies in ATV accident south of Nanaimo

Incident happened on backroad Friday night in Nanaimo Lakes area

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

Most Read