Prospects for USMCA Passage by Year-End Remain Uncertain

While House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) recently said in an interview that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement (USMCA) is “the easiest trade deal that we’ve ever done,” those familiar with ongoing talks say it may not be put up for a vote by the full House before the end of 2019. USMCA is presently thought to have around 40-50 Democratic members of the House in support, placing it above the 218-vote threshold for passage along with Republican backing. However, it seems unlikely that Speaker Pelosi will bring the trade deal up for a vote unless she can guarantee at least 100 members of her caucus are in support, a feat deemed to be unattainable without support or at least neutrality from organized labor.

Organized labor remains on the fence on USMCA as the promised Mexican labor reforms they see as necessary are currently being challenged in court and are in jeopardy of materializing. Further delay of USMCA passage to next year may prolong the deal even further, as the Administration and Republicans in Congress see election-year politics becoming an even more insurmountable hurdle for USMCA.

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