Pelosi announces support for new Trump NAFTA deal

House Democrats on Tuesday announced an agreement with President TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pitches Goya Foods products on Twitter Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact' Former White House physician Ronny Jackson wins Texas runoff MORE on a historic deal revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, setting up a full vote as early as next week.

“This is a day we’ve all been working to and working for on the path to yes,” Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiUS praises British ban on China's Huawei after pressure campaign Voter fraud charges filed against GOP Rep. Steve Watkins Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (D-Calif.) said at a news conference to tout the deal that was held just an hour after she appeared before the cameras to announce two articles of impeachment against Trump.

Pelosi said she hoped to pass the legislation before Christmas but would give time for Democrats to read and weigh in on the final negotiated deal, called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSara Gideon wins Democratic race to challenge Susan Collins Schumer pushes for elimination of SALT deduction cap in next coronavirus relief bill Dunford withdraws from consideration to chair coronavirus oversight panel MORE (R-Ky.), who has pressed for Democrats in the House to take action, said his chamber will not take up the deal until after an impeachment trial.

“We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate. That will have to come up in all likelihood after a trial is finished in the Senate,” McConnell said.

Passage of the trade deal would provide a significant legislative win for Trump that might only be topped by his tax-cut bill, which was approved by a GOP-held House in 2017.

“It is long overdue for Congress to take up the USMCA, and we expect to push hard on passing the implementing bill before the end of the year,” White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamMelania Trump posts video of herself wearing mask during stop at women's center Melania Trump's spokeswoman slams 'inappropriate and insensitive comments' about Barron Trump Melania Trump is 'behind-the-scenes' but 'unbelievably influential': book MORE said in a statement released shortly after McConnell’s remarks.

Pelosi is also casting the trade pact as a political win that shows her caucus can legislate even as they move toward just the third impeachment of a U.S. president in history. Republicans have sought to make the case that Democrats are obsessed only with impeachment, and they have frequently brought up the trade deal in that context.

The Speaker also was careful to highlight changes to the originally negotiated text that helped win an endorsement from the AFL-CIO, and that underscored her argument that it was a win for progressives.

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The deal includes stronger environmental and labor standards intended to help U.S. workers and will require Mexico to raise its minimum wage. It will allow Canadians to buy more U.S. goods online duty-free and will also install a new regime of rules relating to digital trade.

“Certainly, we would never have agreed to what the president proposed,” Pelosi said, referring to the deal initially negotiated by Trump and his team. She said the new framework would serve as a template for future trade deals.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka hailed the agreement.

“Working people are responsible for a deal that is a vast improvement over both the original NAFTA and the flawed proposal brought forward in 2017,” he said. “For the first time, there truly will be enforceable labor standards — including a process that allows for the inspections of factories and facilities that are not living up to their obligations.”

Lawmakers may be forced to stay in town past the scheduled session end date on Dec. 20 as they seek to pass the trade deal, approve articles of impeachment and pass spending legislation to avert a government shutdown.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton Hoyer70 progressive groups call for next Foreign Affairs chair to reflect 'progressive realism' House to vote next week on ridding Capitol of Confederate statues Overnight Defense: US formally rejects Beijing's South China Sea claims | House set to consider defense policy bill next week | 57 injured as firefighters battle warship blaze MORE (D-Md.) said Democrats want to hold votes on all three issues before the end of the month but that spending legislation will be the priority.

The road to Tuesday’s deal was long.

Trump signed his version of the deal just after Democrats won control of the House in last year's midterm elections, but before they came to power.

Negotiations between a group of House Democrats and U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerGOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House MORE, the White House’s top trade negotiator, began in earnest some six months ago.

“These were intense, argumentative, angry negotiations. I mean, this got hot on a number of occasions,” Rep. Richard NealRichard Edmund NealPandemic highlights need for federal long-term care insurance Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress Five takeaways from PPP loan data MORE (D-Mass.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said Tuesday. He and Lighthizer, he joked, set a world record for hanging up on each other.

Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenate Dems request briefing on Russian bounty wire transfers On The Money: Mnuchin, Powell differ over how soon economy will recover | Millions fear eviction without more aid from Congress | IRS chief pledges to work on tax code's role in racial wealth disparities IRS chief pledges to work with Congress on examining tax code's role in racial wealth disparities MORE (D-Ohio) said that it took Democrats a year and a half to sell Trump on enhanced labor law enforcement checks essential to winning the party’s support.

“Trump was never for the strong labor enforcement rules and standards, so we had to pull him kicking and screaming,” said Brown, a fierce critic of the original NAFTA.

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“I know we'll take credit for the whole thing, but the fact is with his leadership we were still losing jobs to Mexico.”

But the negotiators also felt that the deal would have to be tied up before the politics of the 2020 campaign got too heated. Several of the leading candidates in the Democratic presidential primary have laid out more rigid outlines for trade.

Brown said he discussed the deal with Trumka weekly for several months, adding that he likes what he’s seen so far of the new agreement.

Other progressives expressed skepticism that the bolstered labor provisions would be enough to win their support, even if they were good enough for the AFL-CIO.

“I'm a union guy, but [Trumka] doesn't speak for me on this issue,” said Rep. Bill PascrellWilliam (Bill) James PascrellThe Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell wins Democratic primary New Jersey incumbents steamroll progressive challengers in primaries MORE (D-N.J.), a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee. Other unions, he noted, such as the Machinists Union, still opposed the deal.

“We haven't seen the writing of how we're going to stop the hemorrhaging of jobs to Mexico,” Pascrell continued, adding that lawmakers have not seen a final draft of the proposed changes.

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The deal also has critics on the right.

Sen. Pat ToomeyPatrick (Pat) Joseph ToomeyGOP senators push for quick, partial reopening of economy NSA improperly collected US phone records in October, new documents show Overnight Defense: Pick for South Korean envoy splits with Trump on nuclear threat | McCain blasts move to suspend Korean military exercises | White House defends Trump salute of North Korean general MORE (R-Pa.) ripped it, saying it was in many ways worse than NAFTA.

He cited the inclusion of a sunset clause, wage requirements that could increase consumer prices and the elimination of a dispute mechanism he said boosted foreign investment. Toomey said the pharmaceutical provisions Democrats boasted about including would disincentivize medical innovation.

McConnell also complained about the final deal. “From my perspective it’s not as good as I had hoped,” he said.

Still, the deal is expected to garner enough bipartisan support in both chambers to easily pass.

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph Scalise4 Texas GOP congressional primary runoffs to watch Cheney clashes with Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks MORE (La.) pledged to “work tirelessly to whip votes to ensure strong GOP support” in a Tuesday phone call with Lighthizer, said a spokeswoman for the No. 2 House Republican.

Rep. Roger WilliamsJohn (Roger) Roger WilliamsLawmaker-linked businesses received PPP loans Rhode Island moves toward changing its official name over slavery connotations Financial firms facing serious hacking threat in COVID-19 era MORE (R-Texas), a staunch Trump ally, also warned fellow Republicans that “if we look for the perfect deal, it will mess things up.”

“We should have done this a long time ago,” Williams said.