USMCA deal close, but not 'imminent,' Democrats say

USMCA deal close, but not 'imminent,' Democrats say
© Greg Nash

Democrats say a deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is close, but not “imminent,” as House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiGOP seeks to redirect criticism over Trump tax returns House rebuffs GOP lawmaker's effort to remove references to Democrats in Capitol Grassley says disclosing Trump's tax records without authorization could violate law MORE said earlier Thursday. 

“I wouldn’t say imminent but getting closer,” said Rep. Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsCentrist Democrats got their COVID bill, now they want a vote Vulnerable Democrats tell Pelosi COVID-19 compromise 'essential' Shakespeare Theatre Company goes virtual for 'Will on the Hill...or Won't They?' MORE (D-Minn.).

“I can tell you, I am amongst a lot of Democrats who want to see it brought to the floor before the end of the year,” he added. 

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Earlier in the day, Pelosi said a deal on the replacement United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) was just around the corner

“I do believe that if we can get this to the place it needs to be, which is imminent, that this can be a template for future trade agreements, a good template,” she said at her weekly press conference.

But despite further calls scheduled with U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerWhiskey, workers and friends caught in the trade dispute crossfire GOP senator warns quick vote on new NAFTA would be 'huge mistake' Pelosi casts doubt on USMCA deal in 2019 MORE, details on enforcement provisions and labor remained unfinished, according to Democrats briefed on the status of negotiations Tuesday evening

“We have consistently said that we want to get to yes on the USMCA, but there are four issues that need to be resolved,” said Rep. Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesDemocratic leaders: Supreme Court fight is about ObamaCare Pelosi: House will stay in session until agreement is reached on coronavirus relief Races heat up for House leadership posts MORE (D-N.Y.), pointing to enforcement, labor, environment and pharmaceuticals.  

“Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to,” he added. 

Pelosi said her goal was to reach agreement and pass the deal in the final weeks of 2019.

A deal would give both Democrats and President TrumpDonald John TrumpFive takeaways from Trump-Biden debate clash The Memo: Debate or debacle? Democrats rip Trump for not condemning white supremacists, Proud Boys at debate MORE a significant win. Trump made replacing NAFTA a central part of his 2016 election campaign.