On Tuesday, House Democrats made a deal with President Trump to move forward on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), a trade deal that updates a prior trade agreement. North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, some Senate Republicans who previously supported the agreement are now getting cold feet, including John Cornyn.
Cornyn had previously chastised House Democrats for not passing USMCA, accusing them of being too focused on impeachment. “USMCA is a 21st century trade agreement and is a win for Texans – but Democrats are too focused on removing the President from office to do what’s right and ratify it,” Cornyn tweeted in October. “It’s time for Democrats to do their job.”
House Democrats reached an agreement with the White House on USMCA even as impeachment proceedings were underway. “This is a day we’ve all been working to and working for on the path to yes,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Cornyn’s reservations apparently stem from the Trump administration’s concessions in negotiations with the House. As part of that deal, the administration acquiesced to House Democrats’ desire for stronger labor and environmental protections in USMCA, a move that Cornyn referred to as “problematic.”
“I just hope he hasn’t gone too far in Speaker Pelosi’s direction, and the AFL-CIO’s direction that he might lose some support here,” Cornyn said. “My concern is that what the administration presented has now been moved demonstrably to Democrats, the direction that they wanted.”
Sen. Ted Cruz also believes the White House conceded too much, according to the Washington Post.
Now, Senate Republicans, who previously criticized House Democrats for being too focused on impeachment to get anything done, say that they won’t take action on USMCA until after the impeachment trial is over.
Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call