Restaurant association president announces retirement
Crowley joins coalition to pass Trump's new NAFTA
Former Democratic Rep. Joseph Crowley (N.Y.) is joining a coalition to help secure passage of President Trump's new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada.
Crowley on Thursday was named honorary co-chairman of Pass USMCA, a coalition of business, trade and advocacy groups promoting swift passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The coalition was launched earlier this month by President Trump's former deputy chief of staff, Rick Dearborn.
Dearborn told The Hill that the coalition approached Crowley to join the effort and is focusing on getting Democrats on board with the president's trade agreement.
"I think that's the smart focus," Dearborn told The Hill. "There's a lot of fresh new faces in the Democratic caucus [and we will be] providing them really good information, answering their questions, and ultimately I'm hopeful that they can see clear to be supportive of the deal.
"In the end, I think it will pass," he predicted.
Trump signed the deal in November, setting off a six-month deadline for Congress to approve the pact.
Crowley was chair of the House Democratic Caucus for two years and was defeated by progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) in their district's primary last year. He joined the law and lobbying firm Squire Patton Boggs on Tuesday.
"He's such a great guy. I know that that whole race was unique but Joe Crowley's probably one of the most respected members of Congress not only within his own party but also on the other side of the aisle," Dearborn said.
"He is someone that knows how to actually build bridges and work to get things done. I'm a conservative Republican, he's a much more liberal Democrat, but I think we can both agree, along with Gov. Locke, that this trade deal's extremely important, its passage swiftly is really critical."
Gary Locke, the former Democratic governor of Washington and a onetime ambassador to China, is also an honorary co-chairman.
The coalition has 12 members so far, including the Household and Commercial Products Association, the International Association of Drilling Contractors, PhRMA, the Washington Council on International Trade, the Canadian American Business Council and the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.
There are other coalitions working to get the deal passed, and Dearborn said what makes Pass USMCA unique is "we have no conditions," calling their sole focus "the quick and clean passage of USMCA."
"I think our members feel that what was accomplished in these negotiations with Canada and Mexico was really significant and really, really good for American businesses, workers and our economy," he said.
Dearborn announced his departure from the White House in December 2017, finally resigning in March 2018. He is now a partner at the Cypress Group.