Pelosi to meet with Lighthizer amid trade tensions

Pelosi to meet with Lighthizer amid trade tensions
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiElection security bills face GOP buzzsaw Election security bills face GOP buzzsaw Dems eye repeal of Justice rule barring presidential indictments MORE (D-Calif.) will meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerChinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report The Trump economy keeps roaring ahead Trump says no discussion of extending deadline in Chinese trade talks MORE Wednesday afternoon as the White House faces increasing bipartisan criticism over its aggressive trade policies.

A senior Democratic aide confirmed the meeting, which will take place at 1 p.m., to The Hill.

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Two Democratic sources told Politico, which was the first to report the meeting, that the official topic of the meeting is President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump defends Stephanopolous interview Trump defends Stephanopolous interview Buttigieg on offers of foreign intel: 'Just call the FBI' MORE’s new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada. But the meeting also comes amid an escalating trade war with China, which has resulted in additional tariffs from both sides over the past week.

Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerThe case for congressional pay raises Approve USMCA before it's too late Lawmakers push to permanently ban automatic pay raises for members of Congress MORE (D-Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealSchiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns Schiff blasts DOJ over memo on withholding Trump tax returns On The Money: DOJ offers legal opinion backing refusal to release Trump tax returns | Centrist Democrats raise concerns over minimum wage | Trump bashes Powell ahead of crucial Fed meeting | Design leaks for Harriet Tubman bill MORE (D-Mass.) will also reportedly be at the meeting. 

Lighthizer’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

The United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement, a successor to the North America Free Trade Agreement, awaits its fate in Congress, where House Democrats, led by Pelosi, threaten to hold up the deal’s ratification over labor concerns and Senate Republicans express skepticism over the deal’s effectiveness while tariffs are still applied to Canada and Mexico.

“I wish him success in the negotiation,” Pelosi told reporters on Monday. “But as I say, we have to use our leverage without antagonizing those who are on our side on this.”

Lighthizer and other administration officials have said they will not reopen the negotiations with the other two signatories. The political window appears to be closing, as a deal of this magnitude is unlikely to gain traction on Capitol Hill as the 2020 presidential race takes up an increasing amount of oxygen.