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Pelosi: Deal on new NAFTA 'imminent'

Pelosi: Deal on new NAFTA 'imminent'
© Greg Nash

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Unemployment gains lower than expected | Jobs report lights fire under coronavirus relief talks Hillicon Valley: Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security | Biden says China must play by 'international norms' | House Democrats use Markup app for leadership contest voting Bipartisan governors call on Congress to pass coronavirus relief package MORE (D-Calif.) on Thursday said that a deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was “imminent.”

“I do believe that if we can get this to the place it needs to be, which is imminent, that this can be a template for future trade agreements, a good template,” she said at her weekly press conference.

House Democrats have been involved in intense negotiations with the Trump administration over provisions of the new trade deal, called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

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Democrats have sought stronger enforcement provisions, particularly in regard to labor, environmental and pharmaceutical issues.

Pelosi met Thursday afternoon with the top Democrats negotiating the deal, and is scheduled to speak with U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE later.

Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealHoyer releases 2021 House calendar A need for reauthorization of the Elder Justice Act Biden names Janet Yellen as his Treasury nominee MORE (D-Mass.), the head of the Ways and Means Committee that oversees trade, said he did not expect an announcement Thursday, but indicated that talks were nearing completion.

“There’s still a few issues that we’re trying to zero in on,” he said, adding that the support of the AFL-CIO and other labor groups would be necessary to clinch the deal.

That support, he said, was in reach.

A deal, which Neal said he hoped would pass before New Year's, would be a key victory for President TrumpDonald John TrumpAppeals court OKs White House diverting military funding to border wall construction Pentagon: Tentative meeting between spy agencies, Biden transition set for early next week Conservative policy director calls Section 230 repeal an 'existential threat' for tech MORE, who made replacing NAFTA a central part of his 2016 campaign. It would also be a victory for Democrats, who could claim a new model of labor-friendly trade deals.

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Pelosi said she would like to see the deal pass by year's end.

"I'd like to see us get it done this year. That would be my goal," she said.

The deal would come as the House is expected to wrap up an impeachment inquiry into Trump and potentially vote on articles of impeachment. Passage could offer Democrats a rebuttal against Republicans, who have accused them of prioritizing impeachment above legislation.