On The Money: US, Mexico, Canada sign trade deal | Ocasio-Cortez seeks spot on House banking panel | New GOP tax bill hits roadblock

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THE BIG DEAL: US, Mexico, Canada sign NAFTA revamp: President TrumpDonald John TrumpREAD: Transcript of James Comey's interview with House Republicans Klobuchar on 2020: ‘I do think you want voices from the Midwest’ Israel boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate MORE joined the leaders of Mexico and Canada on Friday to sign a revised North American trade agreement. It was a victory for the president, who is facing troubles over the Russia investigation and fresh doubts about the economy. 

The deal rewrites the many of the rules governing free trade across the three countries and caps off a bitter trade dispute between Trump and his closest neighbors. 

"We worked hard on this agreement," Trump said during a signing ceremony at the Group of 20 (G-20) summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "It's been long and hard. We've taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse and we got there. It's great for all of our countries." The Hill's Jordan Fabian and John Bowden tell us more about the pact here.

 

What's new:

  • The new agreement requires that 75 percent of an automobile's content be manufactured in North America in order for a motor vehicle to receive duty-free treatment, up from 62.5 percent, and says that workers manufacturing them must earn a $16 minimum wage, a provision designed to move more production to the U.S. and Canada.
  • It also contains a new investor-dispute settlement mechanism and new digital trade provisions, subjects where U.S. officials said the 1994 NAFTA agreement was lacking.

 

What's next:

  • The legislatures of all three countries still need to approve the deal, a process that will take most of 2019. Trump played down the chance of Congress rejecting the pact, but there's been ample bipartisan criticism to put the future of the deal in jeopardy.

 

Lingering threats: Even though the U.S., Canada and Mexico have struck a tentative deal on trilateral trade, Trump's tariffs on steel and aluminum are still causing issues among the three nations.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used the ceremony to demand that the U.S. lift steel and aluminum tariffs, tying them to General Motors's impending layoffs.

"Donald, it's all the more reason why we need to keep working to remove the tariffs on steel and aluminum between our countries," Trudeau said Friday.

 

LEADING THE DAY

Ocasio-Cortez seeks spot on House banking panel: Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOcasio-Cortez had highest percentage of small donors in midterms: report Ocasio-Cortez eyeing Jeffries as 2020 target: report Hillicon Valley: Report accuses tech giants of hindering Russia probe | NAACP leads protest against Facebook | Trump, Congress head for clash on Huawei | Security panel clears T-Mobile, Sprint deal | Google plans B NYC expansion MORE (D-N.Y.) on Thursday said she is interested in a seat on the powerful House committee overseeing the financial sector.

Ocasio-Cortez told Hill.TV in an interview Thursday that she's "looking at" serving on the House Financial Services Committee, which leads congressional regulation and supervision of U.S. banks, lenders, insurers and housing industry.

"I think with our district, we can be ambitious, so we're kind of swinging for the fences on committees," Ocasio-Cortez said. "We might as well ask for something big." Here's more from me.

 

The background: The Financial Services panel is one of the most sought-after House committees. Its members wield significant influence over Washington's relationship with Wall Street, and the panel offers access to millions of dollars in financial sector campaign donations.

While New Yorkers like Ocasio-Cortez often join the Financial Services panel, few freshmen land spots on the coveted committee. The incoming freshman is also seeking to join the Energy and Commerce Committee, another prominent panel often out of reach for new members.

 

Why it's important: Joining the Financial Services panel would give Ocasio-Cortez greater power to pursue key aspects of her platform, such as expanding access to affordable housing. That issue is a top priority of Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersFive challenges facing new consumer bureau chief Democrats must stand up for Israel The Year Ahead: Tough tests loom for Trump trade agenda MORE (D-Calif.), who's slated to become chairwoman of the panel next year.

Ocasio-Cortez has also supported a federal jobs guarantee and reimposing a 1930s separation of investment and consumer banking, ambitious goals that will likely see little action in Congress.

 

What comes next: Committee assignments are decided by Democratic House leadership in a process led by House Minority Leader Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiIsrael boycott fight roils Democrats in year-end spending debate McConnell predicts no shutdown: Trump 'flexible' on border deal Ocasio-Cortez had highest percentage of small donors in midterms: report MORE (D-Calif.). Ocasio-Cortez has backed Pelosi's bid to become speaker.

 

New GOP tax bill hits roadblock: The year-end tax bill from outgoing House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyPaul Ryan releases ‘teaser trailer’ about series on push for tax reform Dems aim to punt vote on ObamaCare taxes House Democrats poised to set a dangerous precedent with president’s tax returns MORE (R-Texas) isn't getting a House floor vote this week as had been expected -- the latest sign of trouble for a package that already faces stiff odds in the Senate.

The House passed the rule for the tax bill Thursday evening, and at that time the House Republican cloakroom had listed a vote on the substance of the bill for Friday morning. But the schedule for Friday released by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyThis week: Washington barrels toward partial shutdown deadline Five takeaways from the court decision striking down ObamaCare Trump leaves GOP in turmoil with shutdown looming MORE (R-Calif.) does not include the bill. Republicans are still working to secure enough votes for it to pass the House.

"The tax bill was whipped this week and we are still working members to get it ready for a final floor vote," a GOP aide said. The Hill's Naomi Jagoda tells us where things stand here.

 

GOOD TO KNOW

 

Recap the week with On The Money: