What Are Members of the House and Senate Saying About the Trump Administration’s Revised NAFTA Proposal?

October 3, 2018 by TWN Staff
President Donald J. Trump congratulates U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer as he delivers remarks on the United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) in the Rose Garden at the White House on Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 in Washington, D.C. President Trump announced the United States and Canada have agreed to a deal replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Pete Marovich/Abaca Press/TNS)

What are members of the House and Senate saying regarding the trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada in the renegotiation of North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)? Read below!

U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI-3)

“American workers, farmers and families need an updated NAFTA agreement for the 21st century. The trilateral deal announced last night is a step forward in this process, but now it’s time for us to come together to discuss the outstanding issues that remain. Not only should we demand the highest possible labor and environmental standards, but ensure they are fully enforceable – a standard which many of our past trade agreements have not met.

“I will continue to keep the pressure on the President to get the best deal for America’s Dairyland with both Canada and Mexico.” 

U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Senate Finance Committee Chairman

“I am pleased that the Trump administration was able to strike a deal to modernize NAFTA with both Mexico and Canada. NAFTA is a proven success for the United States, supporting more than 2 million American manufacturing jobs and boosting agricultural exports to Canada and Mexico by 350 percent. Maintaining a trilateral North American deal is an important prerequisite to preserving and extending those gains and the Trump administration has achieved that goal. I look forward to reviewing this deal to confirm it meets the high standards of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA).” 

U.S. Representative Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD-5), House Democratic Whip

“Any new trade agreement with Mexico and Canada ought to advantage American workers, farmers, and businesses; benefit consumers; and strengthen our relationships with our neighbors. I will be carefully reviewing the new draft agreement released last night to ensure that American workers will see higher wages and have access to new economic opportunities; that it protects the rights of workers and organized labor that Democrats have fought to secure and defend; that it includes environmental protections; and that any new obligations in these areas will be strictly enforced. Congress must carefully consider any new trade agreement based on how it meets these criteria.”

U.S. Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX-8), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman 

“This important and welcome announcement that the United States, Mexico, and Canada have reached a trilateral agreement to update and modernize NAFTA for the 21st century can be a big win for America’s workers, farmers, and ranchers.

“Now that the full text is available, the public and lawmakers can carefully analyze the trade proposal in an open and transparent process that Congress intended under our new trade rules.

“Ambassador Lighthizer has achieved many new and winning provisions to increase our ability to sell more American goods and services, as President Trump promised. We will also look closely at the sunset and dispute settlement provisions to determine if they increase certainty and help sell more Made-in-America goods and services.

“I look forward to continuing to consult with the Trump Administration on these important questions.”

New Democrat Coalition (Chair Jim Himes (D-CT-04); New Democrat Coalition Trade Task Force Co-Chairs Rick Larsen (D-WA-02) and Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY-05); and Ways & Means Committee Members Ron Kind (D-WI-03), Suzan DelBene (D-WA-01), and Terri Sewell (D-AL-07))

“We look forward to learning more about the agreement reached between the United States, Canada and Mexico late last night to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). We are eager to assess how this agreement compares to NAFTA updates included in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement reached three years ago and how the changes position our economy and impact U.S. jobs. As we have said from the onset, New Democrats support updating NAFTA to reflect the modern trade issues of a 21st century economy. This administration will need bipartisan support to successfully push trade agreements through Congress and we look forward to engaging with them on this and other agreements.”

U.S. Representative Richard Neal (D-MA-1), Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member

“Last month, I noted that a lot of important work remains to be done in the NAFTA renegotiation. That is still true today.

“I welcome the announcement by the Administration that the deal now includes Canada.  But our collective examination of the deal will be beginning only now, with the Administration’s publication of new NAFTA text.

“There are important questions that Members of Congress, stakeholders, and the American people need answered.  Most importantly, we will need to assess whether this agreement makes real improvements to the terms of the existing NAFTA or President Obama’s TPP, especially when it comes to the enforcement and enforceability of the agreement’s provisions, including the provisions that have always been critical to Democratic support – the ones that provide for worker rights and environmental protections.

“The bar for supporting a new NAFTA will be high.  NAFTA has had many critics over the years and its flaws are well-known.  Like me, many of my colleagues did not support the deal originally.  And those who did will have serious questions that they need answered before doing so again.” 

U.S. Representative Dave Reichert (R-WA-8), House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman

“I congratulate Ambassador Lighthizer and his team for the work they have done so far in this agreement. I am very glad Canada is now part of the agreement because North America is stronger and more successful together. With 40% of jobs tied to trade in my home state of Washington, an updated NAFTA agreement is beneficial for our workers, businesses, and farmers. I look forward to taking a closer look at the agreement and discussing it with my colleagues to determine whether it meets our objectives. I am optimistic that a strong partnership will create jobs and growth here in America.”

U.S. Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12), House Democratic Leader

“Any trade agreement proposal must be judged by whether it improves the wages, working conditions and well-being of America’s workers and farmers.  Fixing NAFTA means increasing the paychecks of American workers, delivering real, enforceable labor standards, ensuring fairness for American agriculture, and recognizing the connection between economic growth and environmental protections.

“Democrats will closely scrutinize the text of the Trump Administration’s NAFTA proposal, and look forward to further analyses and conversations with stakeholders.”

U.S. Senator John Thune (R-SD)

“Throughout this process, I’ve always believed a trilateral agreement would best serve American businesses, particularly South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers who depend on exporting a significant share of their products to Canada and Mexico.

“While I’m still reviewing the details of the agreement, an improved NAFTA would be good for businesses, consumers, and the economy, and I hope we can continue pursuing pro-America trade deals with other countries around the world.”

U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader

“As someone who voted against NAFTA and opposed it for many years, I knew it needed fixing. The president deserves praise for taking large steps to improve it. However, any final agreement must be judged on how it benefits and protects middle-class families and the working people in our country.

“Two areas where I particularly want to see the details are dairy, where our dairy farmers are being taken advantage of by Canada, and real enforcement of labor provisions. Labor provisions are good, but too often they are written into trade bills and never enforced.

“If a final agreement is signed by all three countries, I also look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress to write ‘implementing legislation’ to ensure the deal actually achieves these goals.”

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

“NAFTA—which I opposed—cost Wisconsin thousands of manufacturing jobs and needed to be fixed. In addition, Canada’s unfair trade practices harm our agriculture economy—we lost over 600 dairy farms in the last year—and I have pressed the Trump Administration to take action. The USMCA appears to be an important step forward—easing some of Canada’s unfair trade barriers and increasing market access for our dairy farmers.

“However, there is still more work to be done to expand markets for Wisconsin farmers, strengthen Buy America and put in place real enforcement of labor provisions. As I review the details of this agreement, I want to make sure we have a better deal for Wisconsin manufacturers, small businesses, and workers by increasing incomes for working families and stopping the outsourcing of jobs to other countries.”

U.S. Representative Tom Reed (R-NY-23)

“This proposed deal brings our trading standards with Mexico and Canada out of the dark ages and into the 21st century and allows our dairy farmers and workers a fair shake at success. We look forward to further reviewing this deal to verify all of our local farmers, manufacturers and workers are treated fairly.”

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)

“Trade plays a critical role in our economy, supporting job creation and allowing small businesses in New Hampshire and throughout the nation to grow. While I will be reviewing the details of this agreement, I was encouraged to see some positive improvements that will help New Hampshire’s dairy farmers and small businesses.”

U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI-02)

“Despite President Trump claiming victory with a renegotiated NAFTA that includes Canada, it is clear that many missing details must be resolved before we can determine if this deal works for middle class families. We still don’t know whether the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement will have the robust enforcement mechanisms that are critical to supporting working families, stopping the outsourcing of American jobs, and protecting the environment.”

U.S. Representative Tim Ryan (D-OH-13)

“NAFTA has hurt millions of American workers, devastated communities and wiped out our manufacturing base. Nowhere is that more evident than in Northeast Ohio. That’s why I’ve been fighting to replace NAFTA with a fair deal since I was first elected to Congress. I am pleased that the text of this renegotiated NAFTA makes great strides towards prioritizing workers. This agreement as it stands creates rules to give workers a level playing field. But rules are only good if the can be and will be enforced. As I study this new agreement I want to make sure the enforcement mechanisms are strong, especially when it comes to the labor and environmental standards enforcement of this agreement.

“I’ve always maintained that any new deal must raise wages, include strong environmental standards, protect workers’ rights and freedoms, cut back outsourcing, and put the interests of working families ahead of international corporations in all three countries. While there is still work to do on a number of important provisions, I am encouraged that we are moving in a direction that fulfills those critical requirements. As I review the text, I will continue to pressure the Administration to achieve a strong, trilateral agreement that puts American workers first. I look forward to evaluating the agreement by that standard.”

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

“As I’ve said many times, NAFTA has long needed a serious overhaul. The crucial test for a new NAFTA, or any new trade agreement, is whether it is enforceable, particularly with respect to promises to protect worker rights and the environment. Americans are sick of hearing speeches about the benefits of new trade agreements when the agreements in place aren’t even enforced and their opportunities don’t materialize.  I look forward to learning more about the final details and discussing the new agreement with Oregonians to determine whether it lives up to the President’s promise to strike a new deal that truly benefits U.S. workers, innovators and farmers.”

U.S. Representative Jim Costa (D-CA-16) 

“We need to modernize NAFTA, and I am pleased to hear we’ve made progress. I will review the details of this agreement closely, paying attention to how it will impact agriculture and other San Joaquin Valley businesses. It is also very important that any final agreement protect and improve labor standards and opportunities for good paying jobs in our country.

“For many reasons, it is important that we maintain and improve our relationships with our neighbors. Canada and Mexico combined are the U.S.’s largest trading partners. The Valley economy depends on fair trade and open foreign markets, and I will continue to fight for our Valley as we move forward in finalizing a trade agreement between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.”

U.S. Representative Jim Renacci (R-OH-16)

“Last night’s announcement is welcomed news for Ohio workers and Ohio job creators.  The President upheld his promise to reach a new, better, and fairer trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.

“The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) will better protect American farmers, workers, and manufacturers from unfair and non-reciprocal trade practices.  Additionally, provisions included will help protect the intellectual property of American companies that is vital in our ability to remain an innovative nation.  Of particular importance to Ohio is Canada’s elimination of market-distorting activities that put our dairy farmers at a competitive disadvantage for too many years.

“I look forward to reading the full text of the agreement and discussing its impact with Ohio workers, companies, and families.”

U.S. Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID)

“I have long maintained that NAFTA needed to be renegotiated so that goods and services made in the United States would receive fair and equitable treatment among our trading allies.  Monday’s announcement is welcome news for Idaho’s agriculture producers who export what we grow here in Idaho to our trading partners in Canada and Mexico. As I continue to review the details of the new agreement, I am hopeful that the USMCA will bring enhanced access to markets for Idaho’s dairy and other agriculture communities.”


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