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

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Democrats file brief against Trump, 'the Framers' worst nightmare' Iran resolution supporters fear impeachment will put it on back burner MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the Senate will not take up President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' 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 PelosiREAD: House impeachment managers' trial brief Desperate Democrats badmouth economy even as it booms Pelosi offers message to Trump on Bill Maher show: 'You are impeached forever' 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 to vote on Trump's Canada, Mexico trade deal Thursday Senate braces for Trump impeachment trial Republicans face internal brawl over impeachment witnesses 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.