U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer had kind words for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi after they met this week to discuss the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. Lighthizer attended a closed-door lunch with Republican Senators earlier this week, saying he was optimistic about the prospects of getting the USMCA passed. Lighthizer says the House Speaker is focusing on the deal. Iowa Senator Joni Ernst told Politico that he was “very complimentary of Speaker Pelosi, I’ll be honest.”
Senate GOP members seemed more optimistic about the future of the deal, which Politico says was on “life-support” just weeks ago. One sign that Pelosi is working in good faith on the deal is the formation of four working groups to address Democratic concerns. Those concerns included improvements in the areas of labor, environment, and medicines. The fourth group will work on miscellaneous issues that Democrats want to get resolved. There’s no timeline yet as to when the administration will formally submit the text of the agreement to Congress.
Senate Republicans know time is of the essence. They share an administration goal of getting the deal done and approved by the end of the summer. That would give Republicans and President Trump a big victory going into the 2020 elections.