By Zachary Stieber
“USMCA, I can tell you it’s sitting on Nancy Pelosi’s desk,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Nov. 25.
“She’s incapable of moving it. It looks like she can’t. Everybody knows it’s a great deal. She knows it’s a great deal; she said it. She keeps saying she wants to get it done, but we’re talking about many, many months sitting on her desk, no votes. And she doesn’t have to help with the Democrats because they’re going to vote for it—most of them. And, I guess, all of the Republicans are going to vote for it. But the system is—the way the system works, she has to put it up for a vote. And she hasn’t wanted to do it.”
Trump said that he’s heard several unions, including the AFL-CIO, have asked Pelosi to hold up the deal to “make Trump look bad.”
“But Nancy Pelosi should put it up for a vote because, at some point pretty soon, you’re going to have Canada and you’re going have Mexico say, ‘What’s going on? Send the agreement back. Let’s not make the deal.’” And I wouldn’t blame them at all. And that’s okay. We’ll just blame Nancy.”
“All she has to do is say, ‘We’re putting it up for a vote,’ like immediately. And a lot of time is being wasted. But you’re going to have Mexico and Canada pull it pretty soon. And if they do, it’s her fault, not mine. We gave you a great deal. It’s her fault. And got to get going. Got to get going. She’s really traumatized,” Trump added.
Pelosi has resisted calls to bring the deal to the House floor for a vote, insisting that the agreement doesn’t have strong enough worker protections and lacks effective enforcement mechanisms.
“House Democrats have insisted that hard-working Americans need more from the USMCA than just the same broken NAFTA with better language but no real enforcement. The original draft of the new NAFTA agreement, while promising in some regard, still left American workers exposed to losing their jobs to Mexico, included unacceptable provisions to lock in high prescription drug prices, and fell short of key environmental standards,” Pelosi said in a statement later Monday.
Pelosi said that House Democrats have been negotiating with Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, on making changes to the draft USMCA agreement.
“We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for America’s workers. Now, we need to see our progress in writing from the Trade Representative for final review,” she said.
Pressure to make the deal is also coming from Mexico. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said on Monday that Mexico is going to send a letter to Pelosi urging her to approve the deal.
Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to Trump, said Tuesday that she was “happy to hear” that Pelosi might bring USMCA for a vote. She said Democrats in swing districts were also applying pressure to get the deal approved.