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 TrumpPompeo changes staff for Russia meeting after concerns raised about top negotiator's ties: report House unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Ben Carson: Trump is not a racist and his comments were not racist MORE wants Congress to take up his trade agreement with Mexico and Canada soon, despite his feud with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse unravels with rise of 'Les Enfants Terrible' Will Trump's racist tweets backfire? Al Green: 'We have the opportunity to punish' Trump with impeachment vote 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 HoyerThe Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment White House, Congress inch toward debt, budget deal House to test Trump's veto pen on Saudi arms sales MORE (Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.), House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem JeffriesHakeem Sekou JeffriesJeffries defends Democratic Caucus tweet slamming Ocasio-Cortez chief of staff House Democrat pushes for censuring Trump in closed-door meeting Ocasio-Cortez top aide emerges as lightning rod amid Democratic feud MORE (N.Y.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chief Cheri BustosCheryl (Cheri) Lea BustosHouse Democrats' campaign arm raises over million in second quarter Lawmakers join Nats Park fundraiser for DC kids charity Democratic leaders seek balance amid liberal push to go big on immigration MORE (Ill.).

Additionally, ads also target House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard NealRichard Edmund NealFinish the work of building a renewable fuels industry Tlaib blasts Foreign Affairs Committee's anti-BDS bill as 'unconstitutional' Top Republican offers resolution following Trump tax return lawsuit MORE (Mass.) and Rep. Anna EshooAnna Georges EshooOvernight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Planned Parenthood ousts its president | Harris releases drug pricing plan | House Dem drug plan delayed until after recess Democratic chair: Medicare negotiating drug prices not moving before August House bill targets use of Pentagon networks for child pornography 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 WalbergPro-trade group targets Democratic leadership in push for new NAFTA The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate On The Money: Mnuchin signals officials won't release Trump tax returns | Trump to hold off on auto tariffs | WH nears deal with Mexico, Canada on metal tariffs | GOP fears trade war fallout for farmers | Warren, regulator spar over Wells Fargo MORE (Mich.) and freshman Democratic Reps. Elissa SlotkinElissa SlotkinHouse Dems, Senate GOP build money edge to protect majorities Hopes dim for passage of Trump trade deal Freshman members form bipartisan task force on election vulnerabilities ahead of 2020 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 HeitkampTrump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand McConnell's Democratic challenger McGrath backtracks on Kavanaugh comments McConnell's Democratic challenger says she likely would have voted for Kavanaugh MORE (D-N.D.), who lost her reelection campaign in November, and GOP operative Phil Cox.