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Agricultural News

Getting a USMCA Vote in the House in 2019 Looking More and More Unlikely

Thu, 21 Nov 2019 17:23:49 CST

Getting a USMCA Vote in the House in 2019 Looking More and More Unlikely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was still not ready Thursday to give the 'green light' to House action on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, worth billions for U.S. ag and other sectors, suggesting, it might not even get done this year.

Pelosi earlier said a deal with the White House to bring up USMCA in the House was "imminent."

But, a year after the North American Free Trade Agreement-replacement was signed and months of negotiations with Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Pelosi says "We live in a world of instant gratification. 'You got an agreement, when's the bill coming up?' No, there's a lot of writing and conversations with Canada, with Mexico, on the basis of what we might come to agreement on, in terms of a change in the actual treaty, and in the actual agreement. So, it will take time to write and then bring to the floor."

The comments are a stark change from just a week earlier, before a meeting with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, opposed to USMCA. Now, Pelosi says, legislation takes time- "This is about legislating, and it takes time- you need, in most cases, a CBO report- you have to make sure that the committees of jurisdiction have all signed off, so that you can strongly go to the floor."

As for action in December, before an election year and impeachment make deal-making even tougher- "I'm not even sure, if we came to an agreement today, that it would be enough time to finish, but it just depends on how much agreement we come to."

Pelosi met Trade Ambassador Lighthizer following her comments Thursday, adding "we've made progress."

She told reporters after the meeting "I think we're narrowing our differences."

After those comments, Farmers for Free Trade Co-Executive Director Brian Kuehl released the following statement on ongoing negotiations around Congressional consideration of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

"While it's encouraging that both sides narrowed their differences today, it's time to get a deal. Farmers are watching USMCA closely and are increasingly frustrated by delays and false hope. While Congress and the Administration say they're on the five-yard line, Americans that depend on trade with Canada and Mexico just see a delay of game. We encourage the White House and Congress to roll up their sleeves and redouble their efforts to get a deal. For farmers, time is not on our side."

The possibilities of a House vote on USMCA in 2019 seem to be close to death.



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