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House Republicans demand Pelosi hold USMCA vote before Trump has even submitted it

President Donald Trump does actually not plan to file his USMCA until after September 1. That hasn't stopped House Republicans from demanding a vote now.

Then-Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, US President Donald Trump, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed on the USMCA trade deal in November, but Trump has not submitted a final version for ratification.
Then-Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, US President Donald Trump, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau agreed on the USMCA trade deal in November, but Trump has not submitted a final version to Congress for ratification. (Photo credit: MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP/Getty Images)

Dozens of House Republicans flooded Twitter with a series of tweets on Wednesday demanding an immediate vote on President Donald Trump’s proposed USMCA trade deal. But according to a CNBC report, Trump does not actually even plan to submit the deal for ratification until September at the earliest.

Last September, Trump, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and then-Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto signed USMCA — the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement — to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) ratified by all three countries in 1993. While Trump has touted the deal as a “great deal” that would “solve the many deficiencies and mistakes” of the earlier deal, he has not yet submitted a final version to Congress for its ratification.

On Wednesday, CNBC reported that the Trump White House plans to wait until after September 1 to formally send the agreement to Congress. This would give time to resolve outstanding questions and, they hope, set up a vote sometime this year.

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According to the outlet, “The White House could submit the bill to Congress as soon as this week to start the approval process. House Democrats are meeting in working groups to hammer out issues with the existing agreement.”

It does not appear the administration is in any rush to force the issue.

But that significant detail that did not stop dozens of House Republicans from tweeting demands that the treaty be brought up today — even though there is not yet anything for them to vote on. Some members even accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the House Democratic majority of harming Americans by delaying a vote on the not-yet-submitted proposal.

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) said that “now is the time for Speaker Pelosi to bring the #USMCA up for a vote in the House.”

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) tweeted that “House Democrats must stop dragging their feet” so “Americans can benefit from hundreds of thousands of new jobs and Center Valley farmers can sell goods in Canada and Mexico.”

Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC) claimed that “Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats are causing harm to Americans every day they choose not to move forward with USMCA.”

Vice President Mike Pence’s brother, Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN) suggested that it was up to House Democrats to “demand” that Pelosi bring the deal to the floor immediately.

Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-MS) tweeted that it is time for Pelosi “to do what’s right by American workers and bring the USMCA to the floor for a vote.”

These and numerous other similar House Republican tweets contained the hashtag “#USMCAnow.”

Even Pence tweeted out a misleading statement that “the time for Congress to pass [USMCA] is now.”

In May, after the Trump administration sent a draft statement of administrative action on USMCA, Pelosi urged the administration to let the Democratic majority work out “labor standards to defend the jobs and wages of American workers, lower prescription drug costs and meaningful environmental protections,” with Trump’s trade representative.

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“We all agree that we must replace NAFTA, but without real enforcement mechanisms we would be locking American workers into another bad deal. A new trade agreement without enforcement is not progress for the American worker, just a press release for the President,” she said at the time. “We have been on a path to yes, but it must be a path that leads to an agreement that delivers positive results for American workers and farmers.”

As The Wall Street Journal noted last month, re-opening the USMCA for renegotiations, which both Mexico and Canada are opposed to doing, would mean an additional delay in bringing it up for a vote. But Trump’s decision to push submission to September has also slowed the process.

Pelosi is standing firm for now.

“We do not want to pass this agreement—just a slightly different [deal] from NAFTA with sugar on top—if it really isn’t going to be enforceable,” she said last month.