- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 19, 2019

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday her Democratic troops will take up the North American trade deal when the Trump administration ensures it can enforce the agreement with Mexico and Canada.

Mrs. Pelosi and House Ways And Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal signaled progress after a meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka.

“We can reach an agreement on USMCA when the Trade Representative makes the new NAFTA agreement enforceable for America’s workers,” the Democratic leaders said.

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The U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal, or USMCA, is a key priority for Mr. Trump after pledging to voters in 2016 that he would renegotiate trade pacts that American workers view as skewed against their interests.

Yet Democrats have listed a series of demands before blessing a major victory that Mr. Trump will crow about on the campaign trail next year.

Besides an enforcement mechanism, they’ve discussed labor standards in Mexico and tighter provisions around prescription drugs and the environment.

Earlier Tuesday, Mr. Trump suggested Mrs. Pelosi wanted to hold out on granting passage until she locked down votes for impeachment.

“I think the woman is incompetent,” Mr. Trump said. “The woman is grossly incompetent. All she wants to do is focus on impeachment.”

The White House is using the USMCA push as their main counter-programming to the Democrats’ impeachment drive.

It hosted a “media row” blitz Tuesday in support of the USMCA with local radio and regional television outlets that reach tens of millions of households across the nation.

Mr. Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and senior White House officials highlighted the effort in a series of interviews.

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