Trump presses Democratic leaders on stalled trade deal at White House

President TrumpDonald John TrumpCould Donald Trump and Boris Johnson be this generation's Reagan-Thatcher? Merkel backs Democratic congresswomen over Trump How China's currency manipulation cheats America on trade MORE and his economic adviser Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE pressed Democratic leaders at a White House meeting Tuesday on moving the stalled U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which faces opposition from labor and environmental groups. 

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens Trump administration denies temporary immigrant status to Venezuelans in US MORE (D-N.Y.) said Democrats told Trump that the new trade deal needs stronger labor and environmental protection provisions. 


“We talked about we need much more adequate enforcement of labor protections. We brought up the pharmaceutical provision and we brought up environmental protections,” Schumer said. “They were very eager to figure what we needed to pass it.”

The meeting was focused on putting together an infrastructure deal, and Schumer and Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDHS chief to Pelosi: Emergency border funding 'has already had an impact' The Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Trump faces new hit on deficit MORE (D-Calif.) described those talks as constructive, saying they'd agreed on a $2 trillion price tag for legislation. The group plans to meet in another three weeks to follow up.

“It was a meeting where both sides really said we want to get something done,” Schumer said. 

But Schumer said that Trump and Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, kept veering off topic to press Democrats for holding up the trade deal — which is supposed to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement  — in the House. 

“He went off topic repeatedly. The No. 1 subject he went off topic on was USMCA. They kept asking, Kudlow in particular, who was there, ‘What do you need to pass it,’” Schumer told reporters after the meeting, characterizing the conversation between Trump and Democratic lawmakers. 

Trump, Kudlow, Schumer and Pelosi didn’t get into details about whether the trade deal with Canada and Mexico needs to be reopened or whether it can be adjusted more simply through implementing legislation. 

“We certainly said it has to have adequate enforcement,” Schumer said. “They said, ‘Well, it does now. Labor is on board.’ And we said, ‘No, labor is not on board but open to discussion.'”  

Trump also mentioned immigration and a stalled disaster relief package but he and the Democrats didn’t dwell on those topics. 

The president didn’t bring up special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTop Republican considered Mueller subpoena to box in Democrats Kamala Harris says her Justice Dept would have 'no choice' but to prosecute Trump for obstruction Dem committees win new powers to investigate Trump MORE’s more than 400-page report, which has been a source of heated contention between the White House and Democratic lawmakers. 

Trump and Democrats also didn’t talk about House Democratic subpoenas, which the president has vowed to ignore.