House Republican: 'It's a mistake to withdraw from NAFTA'

Rep. Darin LaHoodDarin McKay LaHoodEncouraging a safe business environment can help drive America's recovery Trump says 'decoupling' from China on the table House GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 MORE (R-Ill.) on Tuesday warned that it would be a mistake for President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE to pull out of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as lawmakers look to finalize a new multi-nation trade deal. 

“It’s a mistake to withdraw from NAFTA,” Lahood, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee, told Hill.TV. “I don’t think that’s something we should be looking at.”

Lahood warned that pulling out of NAFTA could create uncertainty and shake the financial markets, adding that lawmakers should instead be focused on passing Trump’s proposed United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. 

“We ought to be focused on getting this across the finish line and not be focused on withdrawing from NAFTA,” he said. “That will cause a lot of disruption in the stock market and with companies and businesses.”

The Illinois Republican said he thinks that Trump's signature trade deal already has enough votes to pass in Democratic-led House.

“If this was brought to the floor tomorrow, we’d have over 300 votes to pass this,” he said referring to the USMCA. “I understand there’s a few last things to work through here but we need to put politics aside and focus on American workers and the long — term viability of this country.”

LaHood's comments come as the White House and House Democrats continue to negotiate an agreement on NAFTA. Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the agreement, calling it “one of the world's worst trade deals ever."

The path for a new trade deal, meanwhile, remains uncertain.

Trump has said an impeachment inquiry would get in the way of any bipartisanship on legislation. But last week Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAs coronavirus surges, Trump tries to dismantle healthcare for millions Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus poses questions about school safety; Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence Pelosi plans legislation to limit pardons, commutations after Roger Stone move MORE (D-Calif.) maintained that the trade deal and impeachment “have nothing to do with each other.”

“The president has said he wants this U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement to go forward, and we are awaiting the language on enforceability. Does it mean he can't do that? That's really up to him,” she told reporters during a weekly press conference.

— Tess Bonn