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Pro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA

Pro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA
© MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rages against '60 Minutes' for interview with Krebs Cornyn spox: Neera Tanden has 'no chance' of being confirmed as Biden's OMB pick Pa. lawmaker was informed of positive coronavirus test while meeting with Trump: report MORE wants Congress to take up his trade agreement with Mexico and Canada soon, despite his feud with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiObama chief economist says Democrats should accept smaller coronavirus relief package if necessary The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Democrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? MORE (D-Calif.) last week and his resulting threats to refuse to work with Democrats on their top legislative priorities.

But while the White House's relationship with House Democrats has now created a barrier to any bipartisan agreements, passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was never a guarantee.

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So outside groups supporting the agreement are stepping up their efforts. 

A pro-trade group, Trade Works for America, launched a six-figure buy of television and digital ads on Tuesday in the districts of House Democratic leadership, including Pelosi. It’s part of a multimillion-dollar, nationwide strategy by the group to educate voters about the benefits of the USMCA.

The ads are in the districts of House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Democrats face increasing pressure to back smaller COVID-19 stimulus Hoyer on Trump election challenges: 'I think this borders on treason' MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesHouse Democrats pick Aguilar as No. 6 leader in next Congress Nominated for another Speaker term, Pelosi says it's her last Katherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats MORE (N.Y.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosDemocratic Women's Caucus members split endorsements for House campaign chief Rep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 Maloney vows to overhaul a House Democratic campaign machine 'stuck in the past' MORE (Ill.).

Additionally, ads also target House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealOvernight Health Care: Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices | Sturgis rally blamed for COVID-19 spread in Minnesota | Stanford faculty condemn Scott Atlas Trump announces two moves aimed at lowering drug prices IRS races to get remaining stimulus checks to low-income households MORE (Mass.) and Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooHow to expand rural broadband, fast and affordably Hillicon Valley: Productivity, fatigue, cybersecurity emerge as top concerns amid pandemic | Facebook critics launch alternative oversight board | Google to temporarily bar election ads after polls close Lawmakers introduce legislation to boost cybersecurity of local governments, small businesses MORE (Calif.), who is considered a close ally of the Speaker.

“The USMCA trade deal levels the playing field and protects American workers through improved labor standards and higher wages,” the ad says.

It also touts environmental protections within the agreement and emphasizes the deal is reviewed every six years.

The USMCA is the renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement. Trump signed the deal in November, giving Congress six months to approve it.

The administration removed the U.S. tariffs on Canadian and Mexican steel and aluminum from the agreement, eliminating a significant roadblock to passage, but Democrats have other concerns, including protecting workers’ rights and labor enforcement. 

Trade Works for America ran ads targeting four lawmakers — Republican Rep. Tim WalbergTimothy (Tim) Lee WalbergRep. Rick Allen tests positive for COVID-19 Capitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (Mich.) and freshman Democratic Reps. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinBickering Democrats return with divisions Questions swirl at Pentagon after wave of departures Overnight Defense: Another Defense official resigns | Pentagon chief says military 'remains strong' despite purge | Top contender for Biden DOD secretary would be historic pick MORE (Mich.), Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.) and Josh Harder (Calif.) — in March.

Trade Works for America officially launched in March with the announcement of its co-chairs, ex-Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampMajor unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary Five House Democrats who could join Biden Cabinet Biden names John Kerry as 'climate czar' in new administration MORE (D-N.D.), who lost her reelection campaign in November, and GOP operative Phil Cox.