AUSTIN (KXAN) — Congressional lawmakers could soon begin the process of approving the new trade deal between the United States, Mexico and Canada.
Several Republican senators took to the chamber’s floor this week to push for the passage of the trade agreement, which is one of the GOP’s key economic goals ahead of the 2020 election.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi says her top concern is enforcing labor standards intended to protect U.S. manufacturing jobs.
Failure to approve the deal by the end of the year means that lawmakers would have to wait until the next session of Congress begins.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul R-TX and Rep. Henry Cuellar D-TX attended meetings in San Diego over the weekend and spoke with global leaders about the new deal.
“The state that benefits the most from trade between the U.S. and Mexico is Texas and this is why Congressman McCaul and myself are working together in a bi-partisan way,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar D-TX. “I think for Texas it means over a million jobs. Mexico’s our largest trading partner, and it’s the largest trading partner for the United States now,” McCaul said.
Both representatives said they want to make the new deal better and are focusing on what would benefit small and medium sized businesses, workers and to create jobs in all the countries involved. They also explained that if Mexico is doing well economically, then it benefits the U.S.
“We look at this relationship between the U.S. and Mexico as key,” Rep. Cuellar said. Both stressed that it’s time for both parties to put aside their differences and pass the trade deal once and for all.
“Michael is a Republican, I’m a Democrat but we’ve been able to set aside political parties to look at what’s in the best interest of the American people,” Cuellar explained. “I think this is what people are thirsty for,” said McCaul. “I think people are tired of this division. They’re tired of the toxic rhetoric on both sides, screaming and yelling at each other. They want us to be responsible mature adults in the room, working across the aisle to get good things done for the American people.”
NBC’s political director Chuck Todd joined KXAN earlier this week to talk about the likelihood of Nancy Pelosi allowing this trade deal to go through.
“There are two theories on this — one says it’s very important to her to send the message that they can walk and chew gum, and there’s a lot of Democrats that want to see NAFTA 2.0 pass, so that is a political incentive,” said Todd.
“But we also have a government funding deadline coming up. The president isn’t afraid of playing with the government funding issue when it came to the wall, does he do it over impeachment, how does this all fit together, so I’m pretty skeptical that much can get done. We’ve got an impeachment process, a president who doesn’t compartmentalize, not a big fan of it, so I’m a little skeptical, if anything does get through — it’s USMCA.”