USMCA Clears Key Senate Hurdle, Might See Final Vote This Week

The bill that seeks to overhaul U.S. trade relations with Mexico and Canada passed a key hurdle in the Senate on Jan. 14, as a top senator indicated that the chamber aims to pass the landmark deal before the impeachment trial is to start.

The Senate Budget Committee voted to approve the United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement Implementation Act (USMCA) that is “designed to boost economic growth by modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). ”

It was previously approved by the Senate Finance Committee and by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee before it was referred to other committees and subcommittees.

“This is a modern trade deal built to work for modern businesses,” Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), the chairman of the budget committee, said in a statement. “For many industries like agriculture, machinery, and minerals, this deal would help create and maintain quality jobs in Wyoming while fostering new innovation and fairer trade across the board.”

The vote comes after Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) said the upper chamber may pass the trade deal this week before senators turn their attention to the impeachment trial later this month. Thune also said the Senate will try to hold a vote on the War Powers Resolution that was passed, mostly along party lines, by the House last week.

“Get sworn in, then [do] whatever we end up doing on War Powers, maybe we get that done tomorrow. Then USMCA … in hopes we have that ready for floor action Thursday,” Thune said, Politico reported. He said that its not exactly clear if that will happen before the trial.

The Senate Appropriations Committee also scheduled a vote for USMCA on Jan. 15, which would clear the way for a final Senate vote on Jan. 16.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced that a vote to transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate would be held Jan. 15, setting up the possibility for the trial to start next week.

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