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 PelosiKlobuchar shuts down idea a woman can't beat Trump: 'Pelosi does it every day' Budowsky: Trump destroying GOP in 2018, '19, '20 On The Money: Senate scraps plan to force second shutdown vote | Trump tax breaks for low-income neighborhoods draw scrutiny | McConnell rips House Dems for holding up trade deal 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 LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerPelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House On The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report 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 KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan 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."