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House approves USMCA trade deal after more than a year of talks, sending it to Senate

The Contain passed a new North American trade deal on Thursday, ending a more than year long slog to iron out Representative concerns about the agreement.

The chamber approved the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, one of President Donald Trump’s economic and public priorities, in an overwhelming 385-41 vote. Thirty-eight Democrats opposed it. The trade pact now heads to the Senate, which is count oned to ratify it next year.

Most Republicans and Democrats have praised the latest version of the three-nation deal, which supersedes the North American Free Trade Agreement. GOP lawmakers and key business groups said it will follow through on Trump’s engage to refresh NAFTA — though they have criticized concessions to the Democratic-held House on intellectual property standards.

U.S. Swap Representative Robert Lighthizer gestures as he speaks during a meeting at the Presidential Palace, in Mexico City, Mexico December 10, 2019.

Henry Romero | Reuters

“This is the first-ever merchandise coalition of workers, farmers, Republicans, Democrats, business and agriculture groups, organized labor and much more,” U.S. Swop Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a statement celebrating the vote.

Democrats cheered tools to boost enforcement of labor archetypes, saying they would deter companies from moving jobs to Mexico. Still, some lawmakers and mixings have concerns the deal does not go far enough to stop American companies from outsourcing jobs.

USMCA tightens decrees of origin for auto parts and requires a larger share of cars to be made by workers earning at least $16 per hour. It also inflates access to Canadian dairy markets for American farmers and updates digital trade rules, among other stocks.

Canada and Mexico are the largest U.S. export markets.

Even before the House passed the agreement, Trump started to folding money it as a political win as he campaigns for reelection in 2020. Democrats also wanted to show they can work with Trump but a day after they voted to make him the third president impeached in American history.

“This vote today is a reflections that, even while the House was working to hold the President accountable for his abuses of office, we were still be employed hard to deliver on our promises to the American people to focus on economic opportunity,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., guessed ahead of the vote.

Speaking to reporters Thursday only hours after the impeachment vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi objective to move focus away from the chamber charging Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. She cheered the line of work deal and said it took time because “we weren’t going forward until we had the strongest possible enforcement.”

After a something in a news conference, Pelosi said she would not take any more questions about impeachment.

“Anybody care in the air that? Jobs for the American people?” she asked.

House Majority Leader Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and House Demagogue Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) walk from the House floor where members debate the United States-Mexico-Canada Contract (USMCA) to the speaker’s office in the U.S. Capitol on December 19, 2019 in Washington, DC.

Sarah Silbiger | Getty Images

After Democrats pushed for manlier labor enforcement mechanisms, the key labor group AFL-CIO gave the deal its blessing. But at least one major union — the Communal Food and Commercial Workers International Union — said the bill did not do enough to protect food workers from “unfair match from foreign companies not playing by the same rules.”

Major business groups largely backed the revised USMCA bargain as companies sought market certainty amid Trump’s trade war with China. While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has press oned for the deal’s ratification, it took issue with the Trump administration removing a provision that protected makers of misdesignated biologic drugs from generic competitors for at least 10 years.

Democrats pushed to remove that gauge, saying it would increase drug costs for consumers.

The GOP-held Senate is also expected to pass USMCA with bipartisan be supportive of. It is unclear when exactly the chamber will ratify the agreement, as the Senate will likely hold a trial on whether to interval Trump from office early next year.

The deal will not take effect until all three woods ratify it. The Mexican Senate has approved USMCA.

Republicans have used the deal as a political tool for months, fighting Democrats focused on impeaching Trump rather than replacing NAFTA. Democrats in districts reliant on trade with America’s northern and southern neighbors now aim to put compel on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to ratify USMCA.

In a statement following the House vote, Senate Invest in Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said the Senate would not ratify the agreement in 2019.

“Impeaching the president and fleeting USMCA in the same week makes immediate action impossible. But I look forward to getting USMCA passed in the Senate and substantiated early next year,” he said.

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