House Democrats and the Trump administration have reached an agreement to move forward with the White House’s replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement, top Democrats said Tuesday.
The two sides had worked for more than a year to resolve Democratic concerns about enforcement tools for labor and environmental standards under the new deal, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. House Democrats, President Donald Trump, top Senate Republicans and labor leaders all cited progress toward a deal this week.
The Trump administration needs to submit ratifying legislation to Congress for the House to move forward with approving the agreement. Once the White House submits text — it could do so in the coming days — a 90-day window to approve USMCA starts.
The House could vote to ratify the bill before the end of the year, when a likely impeachment trial in the Senate and the 2020 election will take up more of Washington’s attention. The White House and business groups have pushed for ratification in 2019 in part because the lack of an agreement adds to the uncertainty farmers and other businesses face from the administration’s trade conflicts around the globe.
The Senate will likely take up USMCA ratification after Trump’s impeachment trial in the chamber, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday. He said he does not expect the Senate to start the trial before next year.