House Democrats and the Trump administration are close to striking a deal on enforcing labor standards in the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the principal remaining issue that is yet to be resolved before a House vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday.
“We are moving positively in terms of the (USMCA),” Pelosi told reporters. “Again, it all comes down to … enforcement … I do believe if we can get this to the place it needs to be, which is imminent, that this can be a (good) template for future trade agreements.”
Republicans in Congress and the White House have been turning up the heat on Pelosi to allow the House to ratify the trade pact, while accusing Democrats of being preoccupied with the impeachment process.
“The House could pass it in hours and Senate could pass it in a day if we wanted to,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley told reporters Tuesday.
But Democrats insist they are working hard and doing what they need to do to make sure that Mexico will follow through with improving labor standards to the point that U.S. companies will not be tempted to move factories across the border to take advantage of extremely low labor costs.
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal told Agri-Pulse that he is still in direct talks this week with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the White House’s point man for USMCA negotiations.