Democrats demand answers on Trump trade deals with Japan

Democrats demand answers on Trump trade deals with Japan
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Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee are demanding information on trade agreements announced between the United States and Japan, questioning whether the Trump administration overstepped its authority and bypassed Congress during negotiations. 

In a letter sent to United States Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerPelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi 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 MORE on Tuesday — led by Reps. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellWhite House, Democrats edge closer to deal on trade White House, Democrats close to USMCA trade deal: report On The Money: GDP expanded 2.1 percent in third quarter | Dems want answers on Japan trade deals | Tax, loan documents for Trump Tower reportedly show inconsistencies MORE (D-N.J.) and Daniel Kildee (D-Mich.) and signed by 23 Democratic House members —  the lawmakers cited a presidential message to Congress in September stating plans to enter a U.S.-Japan Trade Agreement for certain agriculture and industrial goods and a U.S.-Japan Digital Trade Agreement with plans to launch negotiations on a more comprehensive trade agreement after the “initial agreement enters into force on Jan. 1, 2020.” 

“Based on these announcements, we are interested in learning more about the authority the Administration has used and is planning to use to negotiate and enter into the aforementioned agreements, as well as the consultations the administration has undertaken and plans to undertake with respect to those agreements,” they wrote. 

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The group went on to request answers in writing on a series of questions related to the deal, including asking Lighthizer to “state the authority the administration is relying on to enter” the agreements and how it “fulfilled the consultation requirements set out in” the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act.

The lawmakers went on to ask why the advisory committee reports were submitted to Congress 30 days late and whether portions of the report are missing. 

They also called for details on how the deal will be implemented, whether there are any planned changes to U.S. laws pertaining to the deal, and how the administration "kept individual members of Congress and standing committees in Congress informed throughout the negotiations.”

The lawmakers called for the information to be provided before soon as possible but no later than when the deal is scheduled to be implemented.