The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade is set to clear the final obstacle blocking it from having a full Senate vote by Thursday, and passage could happen by the end of the week.
“We are, it looks like, going to be able to process the USMCA here in the Senate this week,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Tuesday. “That will be good news for the Senate and for the country, and something I think we have broad bipartisan agreement on.”
The USMCA deal, which would replace the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement, has already faced numerous long delays. The three partner countries reached the deal in late 2018, but it subsequently became stuck in the House throughout 2019. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats argued the deal lacked proper enforcement mechanisms, but a compromise was approved in December.
The Senate Finance Committee advanced it last week, which ordinarily would have allowed a floor vote, but the Senate parliamentarian determined it had to be approved by six other committees as well. By Tuesday, all committees had scheduled markups.
The Senate Budget and Environmental committees approved USMCA Tuesday. The Senate Appropriations; Commerce; and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees are scheduled to vote on Wednesday. The final committee, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is scheduled to take it up Wednesday. The bill has bipartisan support and is expected to pass each one.
Several Democrats have expressed reservations regarding the deal, but most are likely to support it nonetheless.
“We didn’t get nearly enough in the agreement; far from it,” said Democratic Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware.