USMCA Fate Could Rest with Democrats After Elections

The new North American trade agreement likely won’t get voted on before 2019 because of a packed Congressional schedule at the end of this year, as well as a limited political will to hold a vote. That likely means Democrats will have a huge say in whether or not the deal gets enacted, if as many polls suggest, they take control of the House.

Politico says a Democratic majority in the House would have to balance a commitment to opposing President Trump against the potential benefits of the deal. If Democrats take power, it means labor questions suddenly become much more important. There are still questions remaining from the party and labor groups about how new labor provisions in the agreement will be enforced. One example is pushing Mexico to improve workers’ rights and wages. Unions see that effort as critical to easing downward pressure on U.S. wages.

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer worked to respond to labor-related concerns raised by Democrats and unions during the negotiation. Politico says he’s not sweating a Democratic-controlled House. One Democratic aide says, “I don’t think Lighthizer is the least bit afraid of a House controlled by Dems, and I think he’s played those cards well.”