McConnell: The American People Deserve to Have an Excellent Trade Deal in Place
‘176,000 American jobs hang in the balance. Tens of billions of dollars of new prosperity. And our relationships with two of our closest allies, who have already taken difficult steps to get to “yes” on this agreement, and whose support we need to preserve a system of free and fair trade from China’s aggressive efforts to rewrite the rules on its terms. The United States of America needs this deal. American workers and small businesses need this deal. The time for excuses is over.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
“Almost exactly one year ago, the administration announced the most significant trade deal in a generation: A landmark agreement with Mexico and Canada to strengthen two of our nation’s key trading relationships. The USMCA is the most consequential update of trade policy on this continent in a quarter-century. A huge opportunity to notch new pro-American policy victories and keep our North American neighbors close while we tackle other challenges such as China. But here we are, months after all three countries’ leaders signed the agreement, and we’re still waiting on House Democrats to let it move forward.
“Mexico’s already passed it. Canada’s waiting on our move. The Senate is ready and eager to ratify it. But the Senate can’t go first. The clock is ticking. Month after month, even as House Democrats have continually made vague statements that they support the USMCA and want to see it passed, we have yet to see any real progress. So Canada, Mexico, and millions of Americans are waiting for Speaker Pelosi to remember that serving the public interest requires more than just picking fights with the president. It actually entails addressing the people’s business.
“Mexico and Canada are vital partners at every level of the U.S. economy. They provide enormous, growing markets for American-made products. Together they buy more than $500 billion dollars in U.S. goods and services every year. A half-trillion dollar export market. Every state, every industry, every corner of our country is involved. For ninety percent of America’s manufacturing sectors, Mexico or Canada rank as the number-one or number-two export destination. For American farmers and producers, our two neighbors buy almost two-thirds of all the agriculture exports we sell to all our free-trade partners combined.
“And we aren’t just talking about big business. Tens of thousands of small- and medium-sized businesses count on their Mexican or Canadian customers to succeed. These realities affect Americans’ real lives. In the last 25 years, as trade with Mexico and Canada has quadrupled, 12 million U.S. jobs have come to depend on cross-border commerce. Many of those jobs belong to workers in my state of Kentucky, where our biggest industries -- from auto manufacturing to bourbon production -- depend on this export economy.
“With so much at stake, the American people deserve to have an excellent trade deal in place. One that levels the playing field for American workers and reduces the incentives to ship American jobs to Mexico. One that expands American farmers’ and manufacturers’ access to these neighboring markets. This is exactly what USMCA delivers. It upgrades the playing field for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and job creators. It builds on the pro-growth, pro-innovation policies that encourage their success here at home with an upgraded, modern runway to markets beyond our borders.
“The USMCA looks specifically at key sectors where outdated rules or exploitative practices threaten Americans’ job security and hurt homegrown industries. It strengthens intellectual property rights to protect American innovation. It upgrades our digital trade policy. And, the USMCA wins greater market access for U.S. exporters. Opportunities to sell more dairy and poultry into Canada. A better playing field for auto parts and investment. Enforceable labor standards so that hardworking Americans aren’t unfairly priced out of their jobs. What does all this add up to? I’ll tell you. According to the independent U.S. International Trade Commission, the USMCA would generate more than $68 billion dollars in GDP growth and create 176,000 jobs here in the United States.
“Frankly, there is very little else we could do here in Congress that would deliver this kind of boost to American prosperity and brighten prospects for so many American families. And it’s a bipartisan deal. It includes changes that Democrats have themselves clamored for, and the administration has bent over backwards to accommodate stated concerns. But here we are, a year after all three countries announced the deal, and the Democrats’ heel-dragging continues. Speaker Pelosi keeps saying she supports the agreement in the abstract, but the drip, drip, drip of small objections and stalling tactics keep coming. Even as Speaker Pelosi’s moderate members publicly beg her to pass this deal, it’s almost as though she’s still looking for reasons to duck it.
“Well, I certainly hope not. 176,000 American jobs hang in the balance. Tens of billions of dollars of new prosperity. And our relationships with two of our closest allies, who have already taken difficult steps to get to ‘yes’ on this agreement, and whose support we need to preserve a system of free and fair trade from China’s aggressive efforts to rewrite the rules on its terms. The United States of America needs this deal. American workers and small businesses need this deal. The time for excuses is over. The USMCA needs to move this fall. And that can’t happen until House Democrats stop blocking an enormous win for our country.”
Related Issues: Trade Promotion Authority