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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 SchumerCapitol insurrection fallout: A PATRIOT Act 2.0? Schumer calls for DOJ watchdog to probe alleged Trump effort to oust acting AG Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers 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 GillibrandDemocrats torn on impeachment trial timing OVERNIGHT DEFENSE: 12 removed from National Guard inauguration security | Austin backs lifting transgender ban Biden Pentagon pick supports lifting transgender military ban MORE (N.Y.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisBiden talks NATO, climate change in first presidential call with France's Macron Biden must wait weekend for State Department pick Senators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal MORE (Calif.), Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyBiden expands on Obama ethics pledge Democrats shoot down McConnell's filibuster gambit Biden signs executive order invoking 2-year lobbying ban for appointees MORE (Mass.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseBiden expands on Obama ethics pledge Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senate Democrats file ethics complaint against Hawley, Cruz over Capitol attack MORE (R.I.), Jack ReedJack ReedOvernight Defense: Austin takes helm at Pentagon | COVID-19 briefing part of Day 1 agenda | Outrage over images of National Guard troops in parking garage Senate confirms Austin to lead Pentagon under Biden Senate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee MORE (R.I), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzFor platform regulation Congress should use a European cheat sheet Senate Democrats rebuke GOP colleagues who say they'll oppose Electoral College results 11 Senate Republicans say they will oppose Electoral College results Wednesday MORE (Hawaii) and Bernie SandersBernie SandersBoycott sham impeachment Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Sanders: Senate may use budget reconciliation to pass Biden agenda 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 PelosiBiden attends first church service as president in DC, stops at local bagel shop More hands needed on the nuclear football Sunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus MORE (D-Calif.) and House Democrats, as well as Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury MORE (D-Ore.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSenators introduce bill to award Officer Goodman the Congressional Gold Medal Senate panel unanimously advances Yellen nomination for Treasury Senate Democrats file ethics complaint against Hawley, Cruz over Capitol attack 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 WheelerBiden 'freeze' of Trump rules could halt environmental rollbacks 15 states sue EPA over decision not to tighten pollution standard for smog 13 states sue EPA over rule allowing some polluters to follow weaker emissions standards 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 WarrenCancel culture comes for the moderates Biden expands on Obama ethics pledge Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-Mass.), a Democratic presidential candidate.

Updated at 4:50 p.m.