Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications

Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Kelly takes under-the-radar approach in Arizona Senate race Hundreds attend mass funeral for victims of Bronx apartment building fire MORE (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats announced Thursday they would not support the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), citing the proposed deal's failure to address climate change.

“Despite the fact that it includes very good labor provisions, I am voting against USMCA because it does not address climate change, the greatest threat facing the planet,” Schumer said in a statement.

“Instead of advancing global climate security by outlining binding and enforceable climate commitments from all three countries, the Trump administration provides significant incentives for manufacturers to move their business and their jobs from the U.S. to Mexico, where clean air and clean water regulations are much weaker," he continued.

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"Meanwhile, the Trump administration also included handouts for the oil and gas industry, such as lifting tariffs on tar sands, and refused to include any mention of the climate crisis in the agreement,” Schumer added, citing his previous vote against the North American Free Trade Agreement and saying the USMCA shares many of the same problems from a climate perspective.

Several other Democrats opposed the trade deal citing climate concerns, including Sens. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandFormer aide says she felt 'abandoned' by Democrats who advanced Garcetti nomination as ambassador to India Schumer vows to push forward with filibuster change: 'The fight is not over' Defense bill sets up next fight over military justice  MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisMadame Tussauds unveils new Biden and Harris figures Democrats ponder Plan B strategy to circumvent voting rights filibuster Watch: Lawmakers, activists, family members call for voting rights legislation on MLK day MORE (Calif.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden's FDA nominee advances through key Senate committee Overnight Energy & Environment — Manchin raises hopes on climate spending Warren, Democrats ask federal government to resume tracking breakthrough cases MORE (Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseInfrastructure spending should not facilitate sawing down our National Forests Garland vows prosecutions 'at any level' over Jan. 6 To save America's democracy, Democrats need to start acting like Republicans MORE (R.I.), Jack ReedJack ReedDefense bill sets up next fight over military justice  Ukraine president, US lawmakers huddle amid tensions with Russia Photos of the Week: Tornado aftermath, Medal of Honor and soaring superheroes MORE (R.I), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzThe Hill's 12:30 Report: More of Biden's agenda teeters on collapse The Hill's Morning Report: Biden takes it on the chin Senate to take up voting rights bill Tuesday, missing Schumer deadline MORE (Hawaii) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersShame on Biden for his Atlanta remarks — but are we surprised? Overnight Health Care — Biden faces pressure from Democrats on COVID-19 Sanders calls out Manchin, Sinema ahead of filibuster showdown MORE (I-Vt.).

Sanders mentioned climate change as a factor in his opposition to the deal during Tuesday's night's debate, only to be cut off by the moderator who promised to address climate change later.

"But they're the same," Sanders retorted.

Gillibrand called the deal a "missed opportunity to address the urgent threats we face from climate change. It fails to close loopholes for corporate polluters or set binding, enforceable standards to protect clean air and water." 

Schumer made his announcement shortly before the Senate was set to vote on the revised North American trade deal on Thursday. The measure overwhelmingly passed the upper chamber in an 89-10 vote after the House signed off on it in December following months of closed-door negotiations.

Schumer’s statement praised Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTwo-thirds of Americans support banning lawmakers from trading stocks: poll The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Voting rights week for Democrats (again) Watch: Lawmakers, activists, family members call for voting rights legislation on MLK day MORE (D-Calif.) and House Democrats, as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSanders, 50 Democrats unveil bill to send N95 masks to all Americans Manchin told White House he would back version of billionaire tax: report Democrats look to scale back Biden bill to get it passed MORE (D-Ore.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDemocrats see good chance of Garland prosecuting Trump On the Money — Student borrowers stare down rising prices Biden selects Sarah Bloom Raskin, two others for Fed board MORE (D-Ohio) and AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, for securing workers’ rights provisions within the final version of the deal.

“But on the greatest issue facing our planet, addressing the climate crisis, the USMCA falls far too short,” he added.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew WheelerAndrew WheelerOvernight Energy & Environment — Lummis holds up Biden EPA picks 150 ex-EPA staffers ask Virginia lawmakers to oppose Wheeler nomination Overnight Energy & Environment — Virginia gears up for fight on Trump-era official MORE defended the deal's climate credentials on Twitter, saying it "provides some of the strongest environmental protections ever negotiated in a free trade agreement, including important provisions to combat marine litter."

Numerous Senate Democrats have announced their support for the deal, including progressive figures such as Brown and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren dodges on whether Sinema, Manchin should be challenged in primaries Former aide says she felt 'abandoned' by Democrats who advanced Garcetti nomination as ambassador to India The Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness MORE (D-Mass.), a Democratic presidential candidate.

Updated at 4:50 p.m.