McConnell: Senate will not take up new NAFTA deal this year

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse chairman asks CDC director to testify on reopening schools during pandemic Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Pelosi says House won't cave to Senate on worker COVID-19 protections MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the Senate will not take up President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump on Kanye West's presidential run: 'He is always going to be for us' Marie Yovanovitch on Vindman retirement: He 'deserved better than this. Our country deserved better than this' Trump says Biden has been 'brainwashed': 'He's been taken over by the radical left' MORE’s trade deal with Canada and Mexico before the end of the year.

McConnell, outlining the to-do list for the chamber before senators leave for Christmas, said the trade deal was not on the list. He also said the Senate was unlikely to vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) until after an expected impeachment trial for Trump.


“We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate. They will have to come up in all likelihood after a trial is finished in the Senate,” he said.

The Senate was supposed to adjourn for the year by Dec. 13. They’ll now likely be in town through Dec. 20 because of the government funding deadline.

His announcement comes hours after Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiSupreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress Pelosi on Baltimore's Columbus statue: 'If the community doesn't want the statue, the statue shouldn't be there' Pelosi says House won't cave to Senate on worker COVID-19 protections MORE (D-Calif.) announced she had reached an agreement with the White House on the trade deal.

Pelosi's announcement came after she and other Democrats set out two articles of impeachment against Trump, which the full House could vote on next week.

Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate Clash looms over next coronavirus relief bill MORE (R-S.D.), asked about not taking up the trade deal until next year, noted that “our members are going to want to review it.”

“It’s hard to see how there’s time to get it all done,” Thune added. 

Trying to move the trade deal this year would likely draw pushback from Republican senators, who have signaled skepticism about the trade deal. 

McConnell, asked about the substance of the deal, said, “From my perspective, it’s not as good as I had hoped.”

McConnell’s timeframe immediately ran into pushback from House Democrats, who have been negotiating with the White House for months.

“House & Senate passed Korea, Panama, and Colombia Trade Agreements on the same day (Oct 12, 2011). Senator McConnell has no excuse not to bring up the USMCA,” said a spokesman for Pelosi.

McConnell has repeatedly hammered House Democrats for not taking up USMCA, a top priority for Republicans and the White House.

--This report was updated at 3:40 p.m.