President Donald Trump is triumphantly celebrating the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) on Thursday.
It fulfills a promise he made during the presidential campaign of 2016, one which was met with great skepticism and resistance from Democrats. The passage of USMCA comes a day after the Trump administration signed a hard fought trade deal with China.
Trump contended that American workers, particularly those in the Midwest, and manufacturers, were negatively impacted by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which encouraged companies to move jobs out of the U.S.
The trade agreement passed the Senate with wide bipartisan support by a vote of 89-10 Thursday afternoon and was sent to the president’s desk for signing. The three-nation pact awaits Canada’s approval to take effect.
“All eyes will be on Canada to get the job done quickly so we can all work together to implement this agreement,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) on Wednesday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expects the opposition Conservatives to support ratification, and the trade deal is expected to pass after legislative committees review it.
Nay votes came from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY); Sen. Corey Booker (D-NJ); Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY); Kamala Harris (D-CA); Ed Markey (D-MA); Jack Reed (D-RI); Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Brian Schatz (D-HI); Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).
Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against the agreement because he said it did not do enough to address climate change and protect jobs. “In my view, we need to re-write this trade agreement to stop the outsourcing of American jobs, to combat climate change, to protect the environment, and stop the destructive race to the bottom,” he said in a statement Wednesday.
Trump’s reelection campaign fired back at Sanders Thursday, accusing him of turning his back on American workers. “Socialist Bernie Sanders just proudly voted AGAINST new jobs and higher wages for American workers,” the Trump campaign wrote in an email to supporters.
“Sanders is willing to sacrifice blue-collar jobs and better wages, even as he enjoys flying fossil fuel burning private jets on an almost daily basis,” the email noted.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) also opposed USMCA because he does not believe it does enough to address climate change. In a statement Thursday, he said that “on the greatest issue facing our planet, addressing the climate crisis, the USMCA falls far too short.”
Job Creators Network (JCN) President Alfredo Ortiz predicts that USMCA will generate $68 billion in GDP. “This is an incredible week for America’s small business community, which represents 98 percent of US exporters. Yesterday, President Trump signed the phase one trade agreement with China, which increases US exports to that country by $200 billion. And just now, the Senate passed the USMCA, which updates NAFTA for the internet age and increases GDP by $68 billion. These twin achievements are a testament to President Trump’s leadership,” Ortiz said in a statement.
USMCA gives American producers better access to Canadian dairy markets and creates stricter rules for auto part rules of origin. It requires at least 40% of the parts for a car to be produced in plants where workers make at least $16 an hour. It also contains updates to digital trade and copyright rules.
The deal took more than 14 months to finalize as the Trump administration battled with Democrats over enforcement of labor and environmental standards. These issues were largely resolved and USMCA garnered the support of most of the party’s senators.