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 TrumpTrump calls Sri Lankan prime minister following church bombings Ex-Trump lawyer: Mueller knew Trump had to call investigation a 'witch hunt' for 'political reasons' The biggest challenge from the Mueller Report depends on the vigilance of everyone 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-CortezTrump takes aim at Dem talk of impeachment Democrats leave impeachment on the table Michael Steele: A missed opportunity at holding banks accountable 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 WatersDems digging into Trump finances post-Mueller Michael Steele: A missed opportunity at holding banks accountable On The Money: House Dem says marijuana banking bill will get vote in spring | Buttigieg joins striking Stop & Shop workers | US home construction slips in March | Uber gets B investment for self-driving cars 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 PelosiTrump pushes back on impeachment talk: 'Tables are finally turning on the Witch Hunt!' Moulton enters 2020 White House race Trump takes aim at Dem talk of impeachment 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 BradyTreasury to miss Dem deadline for Trump tax returns Treasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns Mnuchin tells Congress it's 'premature' to talk about Trump tax returns decision 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 McCarthyWatchdog: Custodial staff alleged sexual harassment in lawmakers' offices John Legend, Chrissy Teigen lash out at Trump at Dem retreat Republicans call for ex-Trump lawyer Cohen to be referred to DOJ 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: