Pelosi announces support for new Trump NAFTA deal

House Democrats on Tuesday announced an agreement with President TrumpDonald John TrumpLev Parnas implicates Rick Perry, says Giuliani had him pressure Ukraine to announce Biden probe Saudi Arabia paid 0 million for cost of US troops in area Parnas claims ex-Trump attorney visited him in jail, asked him to sacrifice himself for president 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 PelosiOvernight Defense: GAO finds administration broke law by withholding Ukraine aid | Senate opens Trump trial | Pentagon to resume training Saudi students soon Hillicon Valley: FBI to now notify state officials of cyber breaches | Pelosi rips 'shameful' Facebook | 5G group beefs up lobby team | Spotify unveils playlists for pets Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti on impeachment: 'CNN can see through this nonsense' 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 McConnellPoll shows Collins displaces McConnell as most unpopular senator Hill.TV's Saagar Enjeti on impeachment: 'CNN can see through this nonsense' Trump says impeachment trial should move 'very quickly' 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 GrishamHill.TV's Saagar Enjeti on impeachment: 'CNN can see through this nonsense' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Senate receives impeachment articles as trial opens Republicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles 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 HoyerHouse poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote on Iran war powers bills sought by progressives Khanna: Timing of Iran bill being weighed against getting bigger majority 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 NealTreasury watchdog to investigate Trump opportunity zone program House poised to hand impeachment articles to Senate House to vote Wednesday on sending articles of impeachment to Senate 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 Democrats launch investigation into Trump tax law regulations Senate approves Trump trade deal with Canada, Mexico Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications 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 PascrellHouse approves Trump's USMCA trade deal amid shadow of impeachment A solemn impeachment day on Capitol Hill Van Drew, set to switch parties, will vote as a Democrat on impeachment 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 ToomeyNSA 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 WH backpedals on Trump's 'due process' remark on guns 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 ScaliseRepublicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment trial a week away; debate night GOP leaders take aim at Democrats over rhetoric on Iran 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 WilliamsDemocratic socialist group: Voters lost faith in Democratic Party after 2016 On The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday Pelosi announces support for new Trump NAFTA deal 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.