If House Democrats are on “a path to yes” on Donald Trump’s replacement NAFTA deal, as Nancy Pelosi told Bloomberg News, they must have gotten lost. Trump signed the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) almost exactly a year ago, and had it ready for the Democratic majority at the beginning of the session. Is it so complicated that it’s absorbed their every legislative moment? Not exactly, Pelosi admits — it’s “the easiest trade deal we’ve ever done”:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Donald Trump’s new Nafta deal is the “easiest trade deal that we’ve ever done.”
“We’re on a path to yes, and I think every day brings us closer to agreement,” Pelosi told a roundtable with Bloomberg reporters and editors on Friday. “I’d like to have it done as soon as it’s ready. I wouldn’t rule it out next year. Hopefully we can do it sooner, but I said when it’s ready we’ll do it.”
Democratic negotiators and the Trump administration are close to finalizing fixes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Pelosi said Friday, adding that she believes the deal could serve as a template for future trade agreements if they get it right.
If it’s that easy, why haven’t they finished it up? And why can’t they get it done “sooner”? Could it be that Pelosi and her majority caucus have been distracted all year long pursuing another goal — one in particular, perhaps? No no no no, Pelosi assures Bloomberg’s team:
Pelosi said that approving the trade agreement won’t be influenced by the impeachment inquiry and the timeline will depend on when the deal is ready.
This is just nonsense. First of all, if it’s really that easy, the House should have wrapped this up long ago. The other two trading partners (our biggest partners, by the way) are waiting for the US to commit to this agreement, and in the meantime the stalling creates uncertainties for businesses and investors that limit economic growth. We’re going on a year now without even getting a mark-up.
Besides, the timing of the USMCA approval matters greatly to Democrats in the election next year. When it does pass, it will be a major policy win for Trump, who can claim that he was right all along about NAFTA and the need for a more America First-centered trade agreement in North America. The time to hand Trump that win would be as early as possible before the next election, so as to mute its impact on his re-election prospects. Does anyone believe that Pelosi calculated this so as to hand Trump a victory in the middle of the Democratic primaries? Come on, man.
The clear message from this admission is that House Democrats’ obsession with impeaching Trump has basically wasted a year’s worth of potential work. And not too coincidentally, that’s exactly what the White House and RNC are arguing at the moment, too — that Democrats are ignoring the welfare of voters to conduct a partisan vendetta. Pelosi’s counterpart in the House picked up that argument earlier this morning:
As strong as today’s jobs report is, imagine how much better it would be if Speaker Pelosi actually did her job and let us vote on #USMCA.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 1, 2019
Pelosi says that enforcement is holding up the USMCA. And … that’s what’s taking a year on “the easiest trade deal we’ve done” — finding an enforcement mechanism for Canada and Mexico? Riiiiiight.
Enforcement is a key issue holding up the approval of the USMCA trade deal, Nancy Pelosi tells @DavidWestin.
— Bloomberg TV (@BloombergTV) November 1, 2019