The House of Representatives on Thursday approved legislation championed by President Donald Trump that will revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), passed by a vote of 385-41, will modernize the U.S.’s trading relationships with neighbors Canada and Mexico and represents a major victory for President Trump and his administration. 38 House Democrats opposed the bill, while two Republicans and Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) voted against it. The bill will now go to the Senate, where it will sit until the conclusion of the upper chamber’s impeachment trial. Its passage comes one day after the House approved two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — against the president.
The USMCA is expected to increase U.S. auto production and U.S. farmers’ access to the Canadian market. It will also allow Canadians to purchase additional U.S. products online without duties and usher in new rules for e-commerce.
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, one of the key negotiators behind the agreement, lauded its passage, stating the agreement is expected to create up to 589,000 U.S. jobs and spur additional economic growth.
“House passage of the USMCA with such huge bipartisan support is a major milestone and shows just how much President Trump is successfully changing U.S. trade policy so it works for the benefit of American workers, farmers, ranchers and businesses,” said Lighthizer. “The USMCA is expected to create between 176,000 and 589,000 new American jobs and substantially increase economic growth. The International Trade Commission’s analysis shows that USMCA will have a more positive impact on our economy, jobs and wages than any other U.S. trade agreement ever negotiated.”
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), ranking Republican on the House Ways and Committee, also praised the development, while hitting Democrats for diverting attention away from USMCA to focus on their partisan impeachment effort.
“Due to Democrats’ misguided obsession with impeachment, they neglected moving forward on this pro-worker and pro-growth trade agreement for far too long,” said Brady. “Nonetheless, today I am so encouraged that we’re here finally moving forward.”