House Democrats on Tuesday announced an agreement with President Trump on a historic deal revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, setting up a full vote as early as next week.
“This is a day we’ve all been working to and working for on the path to yes,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a news conference to tout the deal that was held just an hour after she appeared before the cameras to announce two articles of impeachment against Trump.
Pelosi said she hoped to pass the legislation before Christmas but would give time for Democrats to read and weigh in on the final negotiated deal, called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has pressed for Democrats in the House to take action, said his chamber will not take up the deal until after an impeachment trial.
“We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate. That will have to come up in all likelihood after a trial is finished in the Senate,” McConnell said.
Passage of the trade deal would provide a significant legislative win for Trump that might only be topped by his tax-cut bill, which was approved by a GOP-held House in 2017.
“It is long overdue for Congress to take up the USMCA, and we expect to push hard on passing the implementing bill before the end of the year,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement released shortly after McConnell’s remarks.
Pelosi is also casting the trade pact as a political win that shows her caucus can legislate even as they move toward just the third impeachment of a U.S. president in history. Republicans have sought to make the case that Democrats are obsessed only with impeachment, and they have frequently brought up the trade deal in that context.