White House presses Dems to act on USMCA as impeachment fight looms
“I really do think they want to try to get to yes,” said Clark Packard, trade policy counsel at the R Street Institute.
“The overall USMCA is about 95% the same as NAFTA, which sort of begs the question: why did we spend all this time and effort to renegotiate something that was 95% of the way there?” Packard said.
Looking ahead, Packard sees two ways impeachment could shift the dynamics of the USMCA debate. For Democrats who took control of the House last year with the promise of holding Trump accountable and getting things done, it is an opportunity to prove they can do both at the same time.
“Democrats have an incentive right now to show they can do the people’s business beyond impeachment,” he said.
“The goodwill Ambassador Lighthizer has worked very hard to build with Democrats is being threatened,” he said.
“It’s amazingly complicated to pass a trade agreement in an election year,” Packard said, citing the Obama administration’s fight to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership in 2016.