Warren announces support for new North American trade pact

Warren announces support for new North American trade pact
© Getty Images

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Overnight Health Care — Presented by Philip Morris International — HHS has no plans to declare emergency over coronavirus | GOP senator calls for travel ban to stop outbreak | Warren releases plan to contain infectious diseases Biden lines up high-profile surrogates to campaign in Iowa MORE (D-Mass.) said Friday that she supports President TrumpDonald John TrumpCNN's Don Lemon explains handling of segment after Trump criticism NPR reporter after Pompeo clash: Journalists don't interview government officials to score 'political points' Lawyer says Parnas can't attend Senate trial due to ankle bracelet MORE’s renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which passed the Democratic-controlled House last month.

Warren, a 2020 presidential candidate, told Boston CBS affiliate WBZ that she would vote to approve the pact despite her past opposition to free trade agreements. The Senate is expected to approve Trump’s proposal, called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) as soon as this month.

Warren said Friday that the updated version of the USMCA “makes improvements” to the original NAFTA and Trump’s first proposal. The White House agreed to bolster labor law enforcement provisions, scrap protections for high-cost prescription drugs and tighten environmental standards to win the overwhelming support of House Democrats.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Workers have had the legs taken out from underneath them and this agreement makes improvements,” Warren said Friday.

“It’s gonna help open up some markets for farmers, they need that stability," she said. "It’s gonna help with enforceable labor standards and that’s gonna be useful."

Warren is among the Democratic Party’s most ardent critics of free trade agreements, which she blames for the outsourcing of U.S. manufacturing jobs and exploitation of workers. The senator has also proposed using trade policy to create stronger safeguards for labor, the environment and regions of the U.S. struggling to adjust to globalization.

While Warren opposed Trump’s initial USMCA proposal, she joined a slew of trade hawks and labor unions to endorse an updated version following talks between the White House and House Democrats. Several of her 2020 primary competitors have also voiced support for USMCA, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenPerry delegation talking points stressed pushing Ukraine to deal with 'corruption' GOP senator airs anti-Biden ad in Iowa amid impeachment trial Biden photobombs live national news broadcast at one of his rallies MORE and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSanders opens up 15-point lead in New Hampshire: Poll Poll: 56 percent of Democrats say billionaire politicians more likely to cater to special interests Support for Biden, Sanders ticks up nationally: poll MORE (D-Minn.).

Warren’s support for USMCA also marks another contrast with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersNew campaign ad goes after Sanders by mentioning heart attack Biden on whether Sanders can unify party as nominee: 'It depends' Steyer rebukes Biden for arguing with supporter he thought was Sanders voter MORE (I-Vt.), her biggest obstacle to cementing support among progressive primary voters. Sanders said last month he would vote against USMCA, calling the agreement “a modest improvement.”

“It is not going to stop outsourcing, it is not going to stop corporations from moving to Mexico, where workers make $2 an hour,” Sanders said, though the deal does require Mexico to boost wages in certain sectors.