Trump pitches new North America trade deal during stop in Wisconsin

Trump pitches new North America trade deal during stop in Wisconsin
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE on Friday sought to boost his renegotiated North America trade agreement during a speech to employees at a Wisconsin factory, as his top legislative priority faces an uncertain path through Congress.

The president touted the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which he announced nearly a year ago as an alternative to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Trump has repeatedly slammed the latter deal as the "worst trade deal" in the country's history.

"For years members of Congress have demanded a replacement for NAFTA," Trump said during remarks at Derco Aerospace Inc. in Milwaukee.

"Now they finally have the best replacement that they could ever even imagine," he continued. "The farmers can’t believe it. The manufacturers can’t believe it … the unions can’t believe it. It’s good for everybody."

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Trump urged Congress to approve the USMCA "immediately" so that he could sign it into law. He encouraged lawmakers to view the new trade agreement as a "bipartisan bill" before attacking House Democrats over ongoing investigations into his administration.

"View it as a bipartisan bill. And it shows that Congress is doing something other than wasting time on the witch hunt and the nonsense that they work so hard at," he said. "If they worked one onehundredth as hard on immigration it would be solved in about 15 minutes. It’s just a waste of time."

While Mexico has ratified the USMCA and Canada has taken steps to approve aspects of the deal, the pact has stalled in Congress as House Democrats push for additional assurances on environmental and labor protections.

Trump administration trade officials have praised Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCummings to lie in state at the Capitol House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found MORE (D-Calif.) for her collaboration in working through changes to the legislation, but time is running out if lawmakers are to approve the trade deal before the end of the year.

The odds of passage are significantly reduced at the end of the year once the focus in Washington shifts to the presidential election, though Trump suggested Friday that the political calendar should not matter. 

"We shouldn’t be playing around," Trump said. "And every day that goes by it gets more and more political because we get closer and closer to the election."

Congress is unable to vote on the pact until the White House sends the implementation legislation, and CNBC reported that the White House is likely to send the USMCA to Congress after Sept. 1.

The president's speech at times meandered into familiar territory as he knocked Democratic presidential candidates, derided U.S. immigration laws and defended his use of tariffs as a negotiating tool with China and other countries.

Trump's visit to Wisconsin came on the heels of his withering attacks on former Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash: Trump incorrect in claiming Congress didn't subpoena Obama officials Democrats hit Scalia over LGBTQ rights Three-way clash set to dominate Democratic debate MORE (R-Wis.), who is quoted in a forthcoming book as being critical of the president's behavior and governing sense. 

"Paul Ryan was a terrible Speaker," Trump said as he departed the White House for Ryan's home state earlier in the day Friday. "Frankly, he was a baby. He didn’t know what the hell he was doing."