Trump presses Democratic leaders on stalled trade deal at White House

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 SchumerTensions rise in Senate's legislative 'graveyard' 2020 Republicans accuse Schumer of snubbing legislation Schumer: Leadership trying to work out competing surprise medical bill measures 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 PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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 MuellerHouse impeachment hearings: The witch hunt continues Speier says impeachment inquiry shows 'very strong case of bribery' by Trump Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' 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.