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Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House

Pelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House
© Greg Nash

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOvernight Health Care: Biden unveils virus plan and urges patience | Fauci says it's 'liberating' working under Biden | House to move quickly on COVID-19 relief Overnight Defense: House approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee | Biden to seek five-year extension of key arms control pact with Russia | Two more US service members killed by COVID-19 On The Money: Pelosi says House will move immediately on COVID-19 relief | Biden faces backlash over debt | 900,000 more Americans file for unemployment benefits MORE (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Democrats are hopeful of sealing a deal with the Trump administration to pass the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) despite tensions between both sides about the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

“I can honestly say that I think every day we are becoming closer,” Pelosi told reporters at a briefing when asked about the trade deal’s progress.

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“We feel very good about being on a path to yes,” she added.

Her remarks come a day after an extraordinary, contentious White House meeting over the U.S. decision to withdraw from northern Syria that prompted a walkout by Democratic congressional leaders. 

Still, USMCA has remained a priority for both the administration and for Congress. Democrats are pushing for changes to ensure enforceability, along with protections on labor, environment and pharmaceuticals.

Trump’s top trade official, U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerBob 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, met with House Democratic negotiators on Wednesday and has another meeting planned for Thursday.

Pelosi insisted on Wednesday that she would not block a deal that’s good for American people just because it has “collateral benefit” for Trump, who sees the deal as the accomplishment of a major campaign promise to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

She has repeatedly said the impeachment inquiry into the president was completely separate from progress on trade.

Larry KudlowLarry KudlowMORE, the White House’s top economic adviser, also sounded an optimistic note about a deal in an interview with CNBC on Thursday, predicting that the deal would get a vote before the Thanksgiving recess next month.

“Speaker Pelosi has her disagreements with the administration. No question about that,” he said. “Having said that, Speaker Pelosi has been accommodative and accessible and helpful regarding USMCA."