U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is expected to meet with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s working group on Capitol Hill Thursday to discuss passing the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. Both the administration and House Democrats are believed to be working “in good faith” to get an agreement.
White House adviser Marc Short told FOX Business he is optimistic the deal will come together on both sides.
“We think that it has the votes,” Short told Maria Bartiromo. “The reality is that there are 31 congressional Democrats residing in districts that Donald Trump won in 2016. But more importantly, those are districts that create an enormous number of manufacturing jobs in the auto industry or agriculture jobs because we’ve now provided ... additional access to dairy farms in Wisconsin, in Minnesota. And so we think the votes are there on a bipartisan basis to pass it, but there still needs to be, I think, some additional work with [House] Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi because she holds the keys about when she gets to bring it to the floor for a vote.”
As for the timing of the deal Short said, “I think that the reality is it's more likely to happen this fall. We are certainly hopeful of that happening this summer but we're going to remain encouraged and we're going to keep pushing for this,” he said. The administration sent Pelosi notice last month that it was ready to submit the USMCA deal, which would replace the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement.
Short said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has had “very good” conversations with Pelosi and has “earned a lot of trust with congressional Democrats.”
House Democrats are seeking tougher enforcement mechanisms related to the USMCA’s rules for labor and the environment.
USMCA calls for a larger portion of autos to be made in the U.S. with higher wages for auto workers.
Mexico, last month, became the first country to ratify the trade deal.
Trump, in May, removed steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada and Mexico.
*This story originally published on 7/10/19 has been updated.