By Bill Tomson, Agri-Pulse Senior Trade Editor
The Senate will likely clear the implementing bill for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement this week, ahead of an impeachment trial for President Donald Trump, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday.
The House is expected to send over two articles of impeachment to the Senate Wednesday, and the Senate will formally start its impeachment trial next Tuesday, McConnell said.
“We are, it looks like, going to be able to process the USMCA here in the Senate this week,” he told reporters. “That’ll be good news for the Senate and for the country and something I think we have broad bipartisan agreement on.
The USMCA vote, which is expected to be overwhelmingly in favor of the pact, would likely take place Thursday after the last mandated committee approval and before Chief Justice John Roberts swears in senators for the impeachment trial.
“Our farmers, manufacturers, and small business owners need certainty and predictability and getting this deal done with our top two trading partners gives them exactly that,” Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, said Tuesday after the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved USMCA.
“I believe that having the USMCA will not only be a win for my state but also for the hard-working Americans from all over the United States. Ratifying this agreement will be a shot of positive energy into businesses, homes, and lives across rural America.”
Four more committees were scheduled to consider the agreement Wednesday: Appropriations; Commerce, Science and Transportation; Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and Foreign Relations.
Senate approval of the implementing bill will send the measure to the White House for Trump’s signature.