Pelosi Wants “Surgical” Changes to USMCA

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement may need to be opened up again and changed with “surgical precision” before the House will vote on it.

“It wouldn’t be like we’re opening it up and inviting a free-for-all,” Pelosi said last week. The deal requires all three countries involved to ratify the agreement before it goes into effect. Mexico already ratified the agreement, while it’s also expected to pass easily in Canada, but prospects for passage are much more difficult in the Democratic-controlled U.S. House.

Democrats are asking for stricter enforcement language on labor and environmental provisions and a shorter term on the 10-year exclusivity for costly biological drugs. “We don’t want to pass this agreement as just a slightly different deal from NAFTA with a little sugar on top if it really isn’t going to be enforceable,” said the Speaker.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has repeatedly said he’s willing to work with Democrats on changes they’d like to see in order to implement the trade deal. However, he has also said it’s too late to reopen the negotiations, which Canada and Mexico also oppose doing.