House Democrats submit counteroffer on new NAFTA, advancing talks

House Democrats submit counteroffer on new NAFTA, advancing talks
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House Democrats submitted a counteroffer on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerPelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House On The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report MORE, indicating progress on the stalled trade deal.

The White House has made the update to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) one of its central legislative priorities, but Democrats said they wanted improvements on issues pertaining to enforcement, labor, environment and pharmaceuticals.

Lighthizer has held regular meetings with House Democrats and submitted a revised version of the plan to them earlier in September. He met with Democrats again Friday morning.

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Earlier this week, he expressed optimism at the prospects of striking a deal.

"We expect to get there," he said.

"The Democrats have asked for specific and sensible things that they want assurances on. We should modify this legislation to accommodate their needs. This should be a bipartisan bill. It should be something where there are wins for the president and there are wins for the Speaker and for the Democrats," he added.

Lawmakers see the coming months as the last chance to push through a deal, worrying that 2020 presidential politics would make it impossible to pass after the new year.

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiFeehery: Pivoting to infrastructure could help heal post-impeachment wounds Key GOP senator: 'We need a breakthrough' on spending talks Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran MORE (D-Calif.) also mentioned progress on the agreement this week amid the political storm surrounding her support of an official impeachment inquiry into President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE.

"In case anyone is interested, we're moving ahead on USMCA," Pelosi said amid a slew of impeachment-related questions at her weekly press conference Thursday.

"We hope to be on a continued path to 'yes,' " she added.