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Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications

Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate implications
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHouse conservatives take aim at Schumer-led bipartisan China bill There will be no new immigration law under Biden, unless he changes course This week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning 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 GillibrandAustin tight lipped on whether to take sexual assault cases out of commanders' hands Gillibrand touts legislation to lower drug costs: This idea 'is deeply bipartisan' A bipartisan effort to prevent the scourge of sexual assault in the armed forces MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisOde to Mother's Day Warren says she'll run for reelection to Senate In honor of Mother's Day, lawmakers should pass the Momnibus Act MORE (Calif.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenators ask airlines to offer cash refunds for unused flight credits Civilian Climate Corps can help stem rural-urban divide Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation MORE (Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseJudge's decision on Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office On The Money: Incomes, consumer spending soared in March | Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package | Biden cancels some border wall construction Harris, senators work behind scenes on jobs package MORE (R.I.), Jack ReedJack ReedOvernight Defense: US fires 30 warning shots at Iranian boats | Kabul attack heightens fears of Afghan women's fates | Democratic Party leaders push Biden on rejoining Iran deal Overnight Defense: Former Navy secretary reportedly spent .4M on travel | Ex-Pentagon chief Miller to testify on Jan. 6 Capitol attack | Austin to deliver West Point commencement speech Overnight Defense: Gillibrand makes new push for military sexual assault reform | US troops begin leaving Afghanistan | Biden budget delay pushes back annual defense policy bill MORE (R.I), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDemocrats face big headaches on Biden's T spending plan Democrats introduce bill to give hotels targeted relief Senate Democrats push Biden over raising refugee cap MORE (Hawaii) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Memo: Outrage rises among liberals over Israel On The Money: Biden says workers can't turn down job and get benefits | Treasury launches state and local aid | Businesses jump into vax push Symone Sanders 'hurt' at being passed over for press secretary: report 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." 

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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 PelosiThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden reverses Trump limits on transgender protections The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns This week: Congressional leaders to meet with Biden amid GOP reckoning MORE (D-Calif.) and House Democrats, as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenBad jobs report amplifies GOP cries to end 0 benefits boost Putting a price on privacy: Ending police data purchases Overnight Health Care: Biden sets goal of at least one shot to 70 percent of adults by July 4 | White House to shift how it distributes unallocated vaccines to states MORE (D-Ore.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSherrod Brown calls Rand Paul 'kind of a lunatic' for not wearing mask On The Money: How demand is outstripping supply and hampering recovery | Montana pulls back jobless benefits | Yellen says higher rates may be necessary Senate Democrats announce B clean bus plan 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: Biden officials unveil plan to conserve 30 percent of US lands and water | Watchdog questions adequacy of EPA standards for carcinogenic chemical emissions | Interior proposing revocation of Trump-era rollback on bird protections Ex-Trump Interior, EPA leaders find new posts Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation 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 WarrenThe Memo: Outrage rises among liberals over Israel The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns Warren says she'll run for reelection to Senate MORE (D-Mass.), a Democratic presidential candidate.

Updated at 4:50 p.m.