Op-Ed: Nancy Pelosi’s USMCA, Big Labor problem – Will Trump win this one after all?

This article originally appeared on Fox News on December 3, 2019.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has a problem. If she holds a vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trade agreement President Trump negotiated to replace NAFTA, passage could appear as a victory for the president in the midst of highly partisan impeachment proceedings. On the other hand, if she fails to hold a vote, she could face blame for leading a do nothing Congress. Given the trade pacts benefits for American workers, that failure could cost Democrats the House in 2020.

According to the United States International Trade Commission, the USMCA would increase GDP by $68.2 billion and employment by 176,000 jobs. It would “likely have a positive impact on U.S. trade, both with USMCA partners and with the rest of the world” benefiting “all broad industry sectors within the U.S. economy.” The largest “gains in output, exports, wages, and employment” would be in the manufacturing sector. That matters in those industrial swing states. No wonder it likely would pass with overwhelming bipartisan support, if Pelosi simply called it up for a vote.

So why is the speaker delaying a vote? President Trump has a theory. Speaking to reporters last week, he said “[e]verybody knows it is a great deal. She knows it is a great deal, she’s said it. She hasn’t wanted to do it because, I understand, a couple of the unions, the AFL-CIO, they are asking her to hold it for a while because it’ll make Trump look bad.”

On Nov. 7, the AFL-CIO Industrial Union Council sent a letter signed by 12 union leaders warning House members that they would oppose passage of the USMCA in its current form. Despite the positive impact the USMCA would have for American workers, big labor claims that it fails to sufficiently protect workers — in Mexico.

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