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 McConnellGOP political operatives indicted over illegal campaign contribution from Russian national in 2016 McConnell privately urged GOP senators to oppose debt ceiling hike On The Money — Dems dare GOP to vote for shutdown, default 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 GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley calls for federal prosecutor to probe botched FBI Nassar investigation Woman allegedly abused by Nassar after he was reported to FBI: 'I should not be here' Democrat rips Justice for not appearing at US gymnastics hearing 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.