With lawmakers on recess, USMCA passage has to wait until September

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) says Democrats are holding up the deal because they do not want to hand...
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL) says Democrats are holding up the deal because they do not want to hand President Trump a win. (Source: Gray DC)(GRAYDC)
Published: Aug. 9, 2019 at 9:30 AM CDT
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A massive North American trade deal hangs in the balance. With federal lawmakers on a recess for the entire month of August, ratification of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, the rewrite of the North American Free Trade Agreement, will have to wait. The Alabama delegation is divided on pushing the agreement through.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-LA) says he and his Republican colleagues are ready to push the agreement ahead, and were ready to do so before Congress left for a six week recess. But Democrats like Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL) say the deal still needs fine tuning.

“I’ve seen some progress in our USMCA negotiations with this administration. I think that the proof is in the pudding, making sure that it’s fully enforceable,” said Sewell.

Sewell says the agreement is not ready to cross the finish line. She has concerns when it comes to enforcement of the deal and upholding labor standards.

Rogers says House Democrats are holding up the deal because they do not want to deliver a win for President Trump, whose administration crafted the USMCA.

“This is really not about the agreement. It’s about the dynamic between the speaker and the president,” said Rogers.

Rogers and Sewell say these trade agreements are important for Alabama in particular, given the manufacturing and agriculture strongholds across the state. White House Domestic Policy Council leader Joe Grogan says USMCA passage will bolster these sectors in the state.

“It would take out some of the uncertainty associated with its lack of being passed right now and clear up...give businesses the certainty they need to invest more and really get the trade flowing again,” said Grogan.

September is the earliest this trade agreement will pass given the long Congressional break. Passage of course will require a majority of Democrats and Republicans to get on the same page.

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