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

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHouse to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance Five takeaways from a bracing day of Jan. 6 testimony McCarthy, McConnell say they didn't watch Jan. 6 hearing MORE (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the Senate will not take up President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit 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 PelosiHouse to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance McCarthy pulls GOP picks off House economic panel GOP up in arms over Cheney, Kinzinger 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 ThuneSenators reach billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill Senators scramble to save infrastructure deal GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden 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.