House

McCarthy blasts Pelosi on USMCA

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) took a swipe at Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for casting doubt on whether the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will pass before the end of the year, accusing the California Democrat of prioritizing impeachment over the updated North American trade deal. 

Democrats have been negotiating with the White House for months, and top Democratic lawmakers have expressed optimism about the progress being made and the possibility of a deal being struck coming weeks. 

McCarthy argued Congress could have already completed its work on the trade agreement had Democrats not launched the impeachment inquiry.

"In nine days we'll be at the one year anniversary when the three leaders came together to sign the initial United States, Mexico and Canada agreement. Speaker Pelosi had promised that they were on a path to yes. How many times have we heard that?" he said at a press conference on Thursday. 

"But today in her press conference she thought it was in doubt that they could get it done this year. I wish somebody would have given our follow up question to wonder why they doubt to get it done this year. I guess they were too busy with the only goal for why they wanted to win the majority - to impeach the president because they can't do anything else."

The California Republican's comments followed Pelosi telling reporters that despite the progress, a vote is not likely to happen until 2020.

"I'm not even sure if we came to an agreement today that it would be enough time to finish," she said of a potential timeline on the deal.

McCarthy said not passing the USMCA put the country in a weaker position in its trade negotiations with China.

"Yes, our economy could be stronger with United States, Mexico and Canada agreement, it is almost a year ago that was agreed to," he continued. "And not only would our economy be stronger, we'd be stronger as a nation when we negotiate with China, who's now become our No. 3 trader, when Mexico and Canada's No. 1 and No. 2. But no, we are weaker today in that negotiation simply because the Speaker won't bring this up because she's too busy with impeachment."

As negotiations continue, Pelosi is facing pushback from the progressive faction of her caucus that doesn't believe that Mexico has done enough to implement its new labor laws. 

Speaking to freshman Democrats in the House, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said labor negotiations on the deal are at the "five-yard line." 

Rafael Bernal contributed. 

Outbrain