Taking another step to completing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the Senate Finance Committee voted 25-3 this week to advance the trade deal to the full Senate.
“We are now one step away from unleashing the competitiveness of America’s farmers and ranchers with our two largest trading partners thanks to today’s Senate Finance Committee vote. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement will protect our valuable trade relationships with our nearest neighbors and return certainty to our markets. We urge immediate approval by the full Senate to deliver a much-needed win for agriculture,” said Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau president. “The challenges farmers and ranchers faced in 2019 are no secret, but it’s a new year and we are eager for new opportunities to compete, building on the progress with Japan and the pending announcement of a new China agreement.”
USMCA has been a priority for most agricultural groups as a way to provide some certainty on tariffs and trade with two of the country’s largest buyers of agricultural commodities. After nearly a year of negotiating between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats, the trade deal passed the House on a 385-41 vote last month.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, credited efforts by President Donald Trump to demand an updated trade agreement that also would reduce some of the trade deficit between the U.S. and Mexico.
“Soon the entire country will benefit from the crusade that started when he ran for president,” Grassley told reporters in a Tuesday morning call. “USMCA will bring much-needed certainty and benefits to American farmers and businesses.”
With the bill passing out of the Senate committee, timing for a floor debate is now up to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., as well as when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., chooses to send over the articles of impeachment against the president. Once the articles of impeachment arrive, Grassley said, all other Senate work will stop to focus on a Senate trial.