A group of Senate Republicans is pushing for Congress to approve President Donald Trump’s new trade deal with Canada and Mexico before Democrats take the House in January.
In a letter to Trump obtained by a POLITICO, a dozen Senate Republicans with wide-ranging views on trade policy urged the president to submit the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement by the end of November to Congress to allow a vote on it before the end of the year. GOP leaders are currently focused on funding the government past Dec. 7 and clinching an agreement on the farm bill, but this bloc of Republicans says it’s in Trump’s best interest to move now on the hard-fought trade agreement in case House Democrats refuse to bring it up.
“We are concerned that if the administration waits until next year to send to Congress a draft implementing bill, passage of the USMCA as negotiated will become significantly more difficult,” the senators wrote. “It is still possible for the current Congress to consider and and vote on the USMCA before the end” of the year.
Though Republicans are far from unified on trade themselves, there is significant worry among the GOP that House Democrats will have their own demands in order to approve the new trade agreement — if they approve it at all. Then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declined to bring up a Colombia free-trade agreement in 2008 when George W. Bush was president, though it was later passed during Barack Obama’s presidency after being renegotiated.
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