House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters on Friday that the pending trade deal with Mexico and Canada, known as USMCA, is "the easiest trade deal we've ever done," prompting conservatives to ask after two years of negotiations: Why is it not finished then?
According to Bloomberg, the congresswoman from San Francisco said, "We're on a path to yes, and I think every day brings us closer to agreement. Adding "I'd like to have it done as soon as it's ready. I wouldn't rule it out next year. Hopefully we can do it sooner, but I said: when it's ready we'll do it."
Conservatives aren't buying it
GOP congressional leaders say that delaying a vote on USMCA until next year could inject 2020 presidential politics into the decision and sink the agreement. Conservatives argue that Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues have been too distracted by their efforts to impeach President Donald Trump to approve the deal.
As conservative pundit Ed Morrissey
argues in Hot Air:
If it's that easy, why haven't they finished it up? And why can't they get it done "sooner"? Could it be that Pelosi and her majority caucus have been distracted all year long pursuing another goal — one in particular, perhaps?
Morrissey noted that Canada and Mexico are waiting for the U.S. to get its act together and approve the deal:
The other two trading partners (our biggest partners, by the way) are waiting for the US to commit to this agreement, and in the meantime the stalling creates uncertainties for businesses and investors that limit economic growth. We're going on a year now without even getting a mark-up.
It could boost the economy
Further bolstering conservatives' concerns that delays are mainly driven by Democrats' desire to deny President Trump a victory is the fact that economists anticipate a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico to strengthen the American economy. In a study released in April, analysts at the U.S. International Trade Commission said the new agreement will create thousands of jobs and boost economic growth:
The Commission's model estimates that USMCA would raise U.S. real GDP by $68.2 billion (0.35 percent) and U.S. employment by 176,000 jobs (0.12 percent). The model estimates that USMCA would likely have a positive impact on U.S. trade, both with USMCA partners and with the rest of the world. U.S. exports to Canada and Mexico would increase by $19.1 billion (5.9 percent) and $14.2 billion (6.7 percent), respectively. U.S. imports from Canada and Mexico would increase by $19.1 billion (4.8 percent) and $12.4 billion (3.8 percent), respectively. The model estimates that the agreement would likely have a positive impact on all broad industry sectors within the U.S. economy. Manufacturing would experience the largest percentage gains in output, exports, wages, and employment, while in absolute terms, services would experience the largest gains in output and employment.
With polls showing most Americans already approve of the president's management of the economy, Pelosi's hesitation to call a vote on USMCA may provide the GOP with an argument to take to the nation in the weeks and months ahead as Republicans back against the Democrats' impeachment efforts.