Grassley signs USMCA, sending it to Trump's desk

Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyTrump administration to impose tariffs on French products in response to digital tax Big Ten moves to conference-only model for all fall sports Republicans considering an outdoor stadium for Florida convention: report MORE (R-Iowa), the president pro tempore of the Senate, signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on Wednesday, sending the trade legislation to President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeSantis on Florida schools reopening: 'If you can do Walmart,' then 'we absolutely can do schools' NYT editorial board calls for the reopening of schools with help from federal government's 'checkbook' Mueller pens WaPo op-ed: Roger Stone 'remains a convicted felon, and rightly so' MORE for his signature.

Grassley, flanked by GOP senators from major agricultural states, praised Trump for his most significant trade achievement, which fulfills his campaign promise of updating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).
 
“After three years, we’ve seen some success from his trade policies, and USMC is the best example of this right now,” Grassley said.
 
The legislation passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate last week by a vote of 89-10, following a 385-41 December vote in the House
 
Democrats came on board after securing stronger labor and environmental enforcement standards, as well as pharmaceutical victories, following months of negotiating with the White House. 
 
The updated deal won the support of some major unions, including the AFL-CIO, though others balked. House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiAs coronavirus surges, Trump tries to dismantle healthcare for millions Sunday shows preview: Coronavirus poses questions about school safety; Trump commutes Roger Stone sentence Pelosi plans legislation to limit pardons, commutations after Roger Stone move MORE (D-Calif.) said the deal, updated with Democratic demands, could be a template for future trade deals as well.
 
USMCA, Grassley noted, was expected to boost GDP growth by .03 percent to .04 percent and add 176,000 jobs.
 
Grassley and the other GOP senators closed ranks around Trump's trade policies, which have often caused consternation and even pushback among congressional Republicans.
 
“This is a significant economic step forward for where we all live, and I think for the country as well,” said Sen. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Advocacy groups pressure Senate to reconvene and boost election funding GOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle MORE (R-Mo.).

“Our No. 1 trading partner is Mexico, our No. 2 trading partner is Canada. We just made an agreement, also, with the third biggest economy in the world, Japan, and the second biggest economy in the world, China," he said, referencing the phase one deal Trump signed with China last week and an initial trade agreement he inked with Japan. Significant tariffs on China remain in place as Trump promises to negotiate a more substantial agreement with China.
 
Trump is expected to sign the USMCA as the Senate continues its impeachment trial.
 
Trade is set to play a significant role in the upcoming election, including the Democratic primary, which kicks off with the crucial Iowa caucuses in less than two weeks. Of the senators still vying for the nomination, only Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBiden wins Louisiana primary Oh, Canada: Should the US emulate Canada's National Health Service? Trump glosses over virus surge during Florida trip MORE (I-Vt.) voted against it, while businessman Tom SteyerTom SteyerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary MORE also came out against it.
 
 
"If you add up the next 27 countries that Iowa does trade with — add them all together, they still don't equal the trade that Iowa does with Mexico and Canada," she said.