The U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement is ready to go, but the Trump administration blames one person for holding it back: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
“She fiddles while the USMCA is in the deep freeze," White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told FOX Business' “Mornings with Maria” on Thursday. "The false narrative here is this whole issue about labor enforcement. That problem’s effectively been solved.”
The USMCA was ratified by Mexico on June 19. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada will ratify the deal once Pelosi brings it up for a vote in the House, where her Democratic party regained control in mid-term elections in 2018.
The pact, an overhaul of the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement, 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. Pelosi and House Democrats have raised concerns about enforcement of the $16 an hour wage.
Other provisions include U.S. farmers gaining more access to Canada’s dairy market, intellectual property rights and a sunset clause that says the terms expire after 16 years. The deal can be reviewed every six years.
Navarro called the agreement "the biggest and best deal ever," saying that it represents twice the volume of U.S. trade with China and will turn the U.S. into a "powerhouse of manufacturing for the 21st century."
Navarro isn't the only one in the administration to take aim at Pelosi. Last week, President Trump said the speaker was "too busy working on impeachment."
The chamber is conducting an inquiry into a whistleblower's report that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine in an attempt to pressure its government to investigate the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump's potential Democratic rival in 2020 elections. The president has dismissed the impeachment review alternatively as harassment and a witch hunt.
Pelosi, meanwhile, said last month that she intends to deliver the North American trade pact.
"We’re moving ahead on USMCA, hoping to be on a path, a continuing path to ‘yes,’” she said.
Last week, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador wrote a letter to Rep. Richard Neal, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, urging passage of the deal.
The U.S. Congress has 20 working days left on the calendar this year. If the agreement isn't approved before the end of 2019, it would be considered during an election year, which could make passage more difficult.
"This is the biggest tragedy I've seen in the swamp, politics over policy, over the country,” Navarro said.