Texas Democrat wants Mexico to address highway security before vote on revised trade deal

Texas Democrat wants Mexico to address highway security before vote on revised trade deal
© HERIKA MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty Images

Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-Texas) is asking Mexico to address highway safety as he weighs his vote on President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE’s new North American trade deal. 

Gonzalez sent letters to Mexican Ambassador Martha Bárcena and Secretary of Security and Civilian Protection Alfonso Durazo asking Mexico to ensure that Highway 40, which connects the two countries and is part of the safe highway program, is secured before his vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), his office said Tuesday. 

USMCA is the Trump administration’s proposed trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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The security and safety of cross-border commerce and travel is a top concern for Gonzalez as he considers his vote on USMCA, his staff said in a release, adding that there are no protection guarantees in place for freight and passenger vehicles leading up to the bridges that connect the U.S. and Mexico.

“For the United States and Mexico to continue reaping the benefits of North American trade, each country must fulfill its commitments to efficiency, security and rule of law,” Gonzalez said in a statement. 

“Proper implementation of the Safe Highway program will undoubtably allow for the successful implementation of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and encourage more cross-border commerce. I ask that the Mexican government make it a priority to secure Highway 40D all the way to each international bridge connecting Tamaulipas with South Texas.”

Republicans are making the deal a top priority for the fall session, but Democrats may not be quick to approve it.  

House Democrats have sought changes to the deal over enforcement, environment, labor and pharmaceuticals.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleySpeaker Pelosi, it's time to throw American innovators a lifeline Barr: Inspector general's report on alleged FISA abuses 'imminent' Pelosi aide hopeful White House will support drug-pricing bill despite criticism MORE (R-Iowa) wrote in an op-ed published last week that he is "engaged in ongoing discussions" with lawmakers and Trump about the next steps on the deal.