By Zachary Stieber
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said that the Senate wouldn’t be taking up the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal this year.
In fact, a vote on the deal, known as USMCA, likely won’t happen until after the expected impeachment trial, which would take place if the House votes to impeach President Donald Trump.
“We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate between now and the end of next week. That will have to come up in all likelihood after a trial is finished in the Senate,” McConnell said at a press conference as he highlighted what the body plans to do before breaking for Christmas.
“What is not possible, obviously, would be to turn to an impeachment trial or to do USMCA in the Senate before we break before Christmas.”
“We all know that one of the reasons we can’t do USMCA is because the House has been sitting on it now for over a year since it was negotiated,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters. “The House has been barreling hard toward impeachment. That’s been their singular focus. And as a result of that, and a consequence of that, I think other things have been left on the cutting room floor, which is unfortunate.”
The Senate was originally scheduled to adjourn on Dec. 13 but will probably stay in Washington past that time because funding for the government hasn’t been approved as of yet.
McConnell criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) earlier in the day while speaking on the Senate floor, saying USMCA “has been languishing as Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats indulge further and further in impeachment.”
“176,000 new American jobs sat waiting on ice as the Speaker offered month after month of lukewarm assurances that her caucus was hoping to be, quote, ‘on a path to yes,’” McConnell said. “This week, at long last, it appears that House Democrats may be finally willing to take action for American workers and job creators and let the House vote on the President’s deal.”
McConnell said that he was “pleased to hear” about the progress.
He said he hopes the Senate can approve two more judges and pass the government funding bill. “I think there’s a decent chance that we can finish that up and not have to do yet another CR [continuing resolution].”
McConnell’s announcement regarding USMCA came hours after House Democrats announced they’d reached a deal with the Trump administration on the deal, which has been in limbo since late last year.
“This is a day we’ve all been working to and working for, on the path to ‘yes,’” Pelosi said at a press conference. “We were in range for a while,” she added, but Democrats were working on strengthening enforcement on worker protections, environmental matters, and other issues.
About an hour prior, Pelosi and House Democrat leaders unveiled two articles of impeachment against Trump, accusing him of obstructing Congress and abusing the office of the presidency.