Lighthizer starts GOP charm offensive on Trump trade deal

Lighthizer starts GOP charm offensive on Trump trade deal
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U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE briefed Republican lawmakers on Tuesday about President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE’s trade deal with Mexico and Canada, as the administration works to sell the agreement on Capitol Hill.

The phone conversations came as House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPush to expand Supreme Court faces Democratic buzzsaw Schumer labels McConnell's scheduled coronavirus stimulus vote as 'a stunt' Pelosi: White House made 'unacceptable changes' to testing language during negotiations on coronavirus stimulus MORE (D-Calif.) announced they had reached a long-awaited agreement on the trade deal — known as the USMCA —  which is intended to replace the Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

Lighthizer, who is headed to Mexico to sign the deal, spoke with House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseJordan vows to back McCarthy as leader even if House loses more GOP seats Cedric Richmond's next move: 'Sky's the limit' if Biden wins Candymakers meet virtually with lawmakers for annual fly-in, discuss Halloween safety MORE (R-La.), along with Ways and Means Committee ranking member Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOn The Money: GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag | Company layoffs mount as pandemic heads into fall | Initial jobless claims drop to 837,000 GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag The Hill's Morning Report - Fight night: Trump, Biden hurl insults in nasty debate MORE (R-Texas).


“Ambassador Lighthizer called in to brief the USMCA Whip Group and Ways and Means Republicans Members on the agreement reached on USMCA. ... He outlined some of the key changes agreed to with Mexico and Canada, which include stepped up enforcement on labor and the environment,” a spokeswoman for Scalise said.

Lighthizer also spoke with Republican members of the Senate Finance Committee, senators told The Hill.

“We had some this morning already via conference call,” said Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneBiden owes us an answer on court-packing Government efforts to 'fix' social media bias overlooks the destruction of our discourse McConnell: Coronavirus relief deal unlikely before election MORE (S.D.), the No. 2 GOP senator, when asked about the briefing. 

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans: Supreme Court won't toss ObamaCare Barrett sidesteps Democratic questions amid high-stakes grilling Democrats warn of ObamaCare threat from Barrett, Trump MORE (R-Iowa) said his full panel would be briefed on Thursday, but that GOP members held a conference call with Lighthizer on Tuesday. 

“We had a phone conference with him. ... They gave us a general overview, but this was Republican members,” Grassley said


He added that he would defer to Lighthizer on whether to brief parties separately or together on Thursday. 

The preliminary talks with Lighthizer come after two members of GOP leadership signaled on Monday night that there was concern among Republicans that Trump made “problematic” concessions to Democrats as part of the talks. 

"I just hope he hasn't gone too far in Speaker Pelosi's direction, and the AFL-CIO's direction that he might lose some support here," said Sen. John CornynJohn CornynCornyn: Relationships with Trump like 'women who get married and think they're going to change their spouse' Changing suburbs threaten GOP hold on Texas Republicans increasingly seek distance from Trump MORE (R-Texas). "My concern is that what the administration presented has now been moved demonstrably to Democrats, the direction that they wanted." 

Thune added that "some of the things that we're hearing would be, yeah, would be, I think, problematic.”