Finance

Here are the 10 senators who voted against Trump’s North American trade deal

The Senate overwhelmingly passed President Trump’s proposed replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on Thursday, sending the deal to the president’s desk for his approval.

Passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) represents a rare moment of bipartisanship in a bitterly divided Congress. The deal cleared the Senate by a vote of 89 to 10 on Thursday, close to a month after passing the House by a vote of 385-41.

Republicans were eager to help Trump accomplish a major pillar of his economic agenda despite their preferences for a deal with looser restrictions. Democrats, who broadly shared Trump’s scorn for NAFTA, were eager to revise the deal to enhance labor standard enforcement and scrap protections for high-cost pharmaceuticals.

Even so, nine Democrats opposed the USMCA largely due to environmental concerns, while one Republican rejected the agreement over concerns it would burden international trade.

 

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.)

Toomey was the sole Republican to vote against the USMCA despite its importance to the president’s agenda and Trump’s reliance on Pennsylvania in the upcoming November election.

A staunch conservative and opponent of Trump’s trade agenda, Toomey argued that provisions meant to boost wages in Mexico and raise the tariff-free threshold for autos would spike prices for American consumers.

“Outside of a few necessary modernizations and modest market access improvements for Pennsylvania’s dairy farmers, USMCA is a step backwards and I could not support its passage,” Toomey said in a Thursday statement.

 

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sanders, a fierce critic of trade deals, was the sole 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to oppose the USMCA. While the White House won over some trade hawks with stronger environmental standards, Sanders said the deal fell short of the transformational change needed to protect American workers.

“We need to fundamentally rewrite our disastrous trade agreements and create and protect good-paying American jobs,” Sanders said Wednesday in remarks on the Senate floor.

“This agreement does virtually nothing to stop the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico.”

 

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.)

Like many progressive Democrats, Schumer praised the USMCA for including unprecedented labor standards and compliance checks to protect U.S. factory jobs. But the Senate minority leader opposed the deal over a lack of provisions intended to fight climate change.

“Instead of advancing global climate security by outlining binding and enforceable climate commitments from all three countries, the Trump administration provides significant incentives for manufacturers to move their business and their jobs from the U.S. to Mexico, where clean air and clean water regulations are much weaker,” Schumer said.

 

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

Gillibrand, who briefly ran for president last year, did not share Schumer’s praise for the deal’s new labor provisions.

“Bad trade deals, including NAFTA, hollowed out upstate New York’s manufacturing industry,” Gillibrand said in a statement Thursday. “I don’t believe this agreement will reverse this trend or help the generations of New Yorkers who lost good jobs.”

Gillibrand also opposed the deal because it “fails to close loopholes for corporate polluters or set binding, enforceable standards to protect clean air and water.”

 

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.)

Booker, who suspended his presidential campaign this week, was among the few Trump challengers to oppose the USMCA after it passed the House. The senator said the USMCA did little to halt outsourcing, protect the environment or support middle- and working-class wages.

“USMCA does not meaningfully address any of these issues: jobs will continue to be outsourced, the environment will continue to be under attack, and middle class and working families will continue to be left behind,” he said in a Thursday statement.

 

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif)

Harris, who had also sought the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the deal over environmental concerns.

“By not addressing climate change, the USMCA fails to meet the crises of this moment,” Harris said in a Tuesday statement.

 

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) 

Markey is the original Senate sponsor of the Green New Deal, an ambitious program spearheaded by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to transform the U.S. economy to fight climate change. 

The senator said Tuesday he would vote against the USMCA, calling the deal “a profound environmental and climate failure” that will “hinder progress on climate action for a generation.”

 

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

Whitehouse is an ardent environmentalist who delivers a weekly address on the Senate floor chronicling the damage of climate change. He also opposed the USMCA over the issue. 

 

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)

Reed voted against the original NAFTA agreement and voted against the USMCA because it fails to fix the problems of the original pact, said spokesman Chip Unruh.

“It still fails to provide adequately for Rhode Island’s workers and is a missed opportunity to address climate change and environmental protections in a meaningful way. Just like the old NAFTA, he cannot support this new one,” Unruh said.

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)

Schatz has advocated for Congress and federal regulators to impose greater requirements on corporations to fight and identify climate risks. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Bernie Sanders Brian Schatz Charles Schumer Cory Booker Donald Trump Ed Markey Jack Reed Kirsten Gillibrand Pat Toomey Sheldon Whitehouse
See all Hill.TV See all Video