McConnell says no vote this year on updated North American trade pact

McConnell says no vote this year on updated North American trade pact
© Stefani Reynolds

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster Hickenlooper announces Senate bid Trump orders elimination of student loan debt for thousands of disabled veterans MORE said Tuesday that the updated North American trade pact won't get consideration in Congress this year.

The U.S., Canada and Mexico wrapped up the final details on the nearly 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) at the end of September, setting up a signing at the end of November. 

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"That will be a next-year issue because the process we have to go through doesn't allow that to come up before the end of this year," McConnell told Bloomberg Television on Tuesday. 

Under trade promotion authority rules, certain steps have to be taken before the trade deal can be sent to Capitol Hill, pushing the agreement to next year where the House may be in the hands of Democrats. 

The U.S. International Trade Commission started its examination of the agreement's economic benefits with the results due by mid-March.

McConnell said the USMCA would be "on top of the agenda next year."

The new deal — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — took about 13 months to rework before a final big push by the U.S. and Canada to ensure the pact remained a three-nation agreement. 

Sens. Charles GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyWhite House denies exploring payroll tax cut to offset worsening economy Schumer joins Pelosi in opposition to post-Brexit trade deal that risks Northern Ireland accord GOP senators call for Barr to release full results of Epstein investigation MORE (R-Iowa) had said that he thought the deal could get a vote this year to avoid any major changes in Congress next year. 

But there isn't enough time with all that needs to happen before a deal can even be sent to lawmakers, including the ITC report.