House passes USMCA as Trump and Pelosi wrestle for credit

USMCA replaces the 'disaster' that was NAFTA Trump has noted

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement passed the House of Representatives on Thursday after both the Trump administration and House Democrats took credit for the $1.2 trillion deal they say will be better for Americans than the North American Free Trade Agreement that President Trump has referred to in the past as "NAFTA the disaster."

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"USMCA is a welcome gift this holiday season, leveling the playing field for trade in North America and helping U.S. companies and the 12 million workers they employ compete in our top two export markets" said U.S. Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas J. Donohue in a statement moments after the vote.

The bill now heads to the Senate, where Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will take it up after an impeachment trial for President Trump. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has not yet sent to the Senate the articles of impeachment that Democrats approved Wednesday.

USMCA WIN-WIN FOR THE ECONOMY

"Of course we'll take credit for it," Pelosi said at a news conference on Thursday morning. "It would have collateral benefit for the president. I don't care about that. We had an opportunity to do something very important for America's people."

Late Thursday, Trump blasted Pelosi in a tweet, suggesting "she doesn't even know what it says..."

STEVEN MNUCHIN TO USMCA CRITICS: 'THEY DONT KNOW WHAT THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT'

USMCA is expected to create around 176,000 new jobs and inject $34 billion into the U.S. auto industry, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo, citing International Trade Commission data. He added that as many as 589,000 new jobs could be created within five years.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said it will add 0.5 percent to U.S. GDP, at least.

President Donald Trump, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Neto, left, participate in the USMCA signing ceremony, Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Mexico and Canada are the two largest trading partners with the U.S.

It requires 75 percent of automobile components be manufactured in the United States, Canada and Mexico in order to avoid tariffs, and that 40 to 45 percent of automobile parts be made by workers who earn at least $16 an hour by 2023.

WHILE AFL-CIO GOES ALL IN FOR USMCA, UAW WORRIES IT WON'T HELP ITS MEMBERS

It further opens Canadian markets to U.S. dairy and poultry, a win for American farmers, and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has called the deal "absolute gold standard on digital trade and financial services."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., accompanied by Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Richard Neal, D-Mass., left, speaks at a news conference to discuss the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade agreement, Tuesday, Dec. 1

The path to USMCA has been a bumpy one — Pelosi and House Democrats for months expressed concerns over enforcement and the need to make sure Mexico pays workers in auto plants an average of $16 an hour.

Mexico's trade negotiator for North America, Jesus Seade, relented in his criticism of the agreement after declaring Sunday that Mexico categorically opposes allowing foreign labor inspectors to operate in the country.

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On Monday, Lighthizer wrote a letter reassuring Seade that "these personnel will not be 'labor inspectors' and will abide by all relevant Mexican laws."

U.S. Trade Representative Robert E. Lighthizer, right, and Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The AFL-CIO labor union has endorsed the pact.

President Trump and leaders from Canada and Mexico signed USMCA, commonly referred to as the "new NAFTA," more than a year ago on Nov. 30, 2018. Mexico ratified the original trade deal in June and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he will bring the modified agreement up for a vote once it passes the U.S. House.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.