Despite misleading media headlines of Democrats jeopardizing or rejecting the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), Democrats are seeking stronger enforcement of the USMCA, particularly for its new progressive chapters on labor, the environment, and workplace-based discrimination for LGBTQ employees.
No, Robert Lighthizer and company won’t have to go back to the drawing board and renegotiate the agreement with Mexico and Canada because of Democrat demands. Instead, Democratic lawmakers of their party’s incoming majority in the House of Representatives want to add their desired strong enforcement provisions in the language of the USMCA Implementation Act that Congress is expected to draft and pass next year before the new agreement would go into affect.
Although the governments of Mexico and Canada regard the USMCA as a treaty under international law — just as they both did with the original 1994 NAFTA — the United States considers both trade deals as “executive agreements,” thus forgoing the constitutional requirement of a two-thirds vote in the Senate (67 Senators) for ratification. As an executive agreement under “fast track,” or Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), no amendments will be allowed to the text of the agreement, debate will be limited, and only a simple majority will be needed to pass it. What Congress does get to do, however, is write the implementation legislation, in which they change whatever domestic laws need to be changed in order to comply with the terms of the agreement and determine how they will enforce it.
When it comes to the more progressive elements of the USMCA, such as the recognition of the “right to collective bargaining,” adherence to the International Labor Organization standards, advancement of “sustainable development,” compliance with the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty, and strong workplace protections for LGBTQ employees, progressive Democrats are eager to jump on board and make sure that these provisions are strongly enforced.
Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who is expected to be Speaker of the House for the incoming Congress, said about the USMCA, “Without enforcement you don’t have anything. Without it, you are, shall we say, just rebranding NAFTA.”
In a statement about the updated NAFTA/USMCA, ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee Representative Richard Neal (D-Mass.), who is expected to be HWMC chairman next year and who also opposed and voted against the NAFTA Implementation Act of 1993, said:
There are important questions that Members of Congress, stakeholders, and the American people need answered. Most importantly, we will need to assess whether this agreement makes real improvements to the terms of the existing NAFTA or President Obama’s TPP, especially when it comes to the enforcement and enforceability of the agreement’s provisions, including the provisions that have always been critical to Democratic support — the ones that provide for worker rights and environmental protections.
Representative Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-N.J.), who is also expected to be chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade, said there needs to be “more enforcement” if President Trump hopes to get necessary Democratic support from the House. “Trump made it seem like this was a done deal, but there is a long, long way to go,” Pascrell said, according to the New York Times.
The Constitution requires that all bills of revenue originate in the House, and though the House will be under Democratic control next year when Congress is expected to work on the USMCA implementation legislation, at most Democrats will only hold a 37-seat advantage over Republicans. So despite there being a Democratic majority, Republicans could still pass a USMCA Implementation Act that is not as progressive as the more liberal members of the ruling Democratic House majority would like. In fact, this is what happened with NAFTA in 1993.
In November 1993, the Democrats held an even larger majority in the House (256 Democrats, 175 Republicans, 1 Independent) and also a majority in the Senate (56 Democrats, 44 Republicans). On November 17, 1993, by a vote of 234 to 200, the House passed the NAFTA Implementation Act (H.R. 3450). Despite the Democratic majority, the act passed with a majority of Republican votes; 132 Republicans and 102 Democrats voted to pass the NAFTA Implementation Act. A majority of House Democrats (156), along with 43 Republicans, and one Independent (then-Representative Bernie Sanders of Vermont) voted against the bill. Likewise, in the Senate, the Democrats again split, enabling a majority of Republicans (34 senators) along with 27 Democrats to pass the bill. The majority of Democrats (28 Senators) along with 10 Republicans voted against it.
In January 2019, Democrats will have a smaller majority in the House (237 Democrats, 199 Republicans) and remain in the minority in the Senate (47 Democrats, 52 Republicans, 1 Independent). This means that a majority of House Republicans and a sizable minority of House Democrats could easily pass their own USMCA Implementation Act that would likely gain the approval of the Senate Republican majority. Regardless how the numbers are broken down, a USMCA Implementation Act will be a bipartisan affair.
The Democrats desire to add strong enforcement provisions to a USMCA Implementation Act, underscores the reality that Democrats do indeed support the globalist trade scheme. Absolutely no one in Congress has spoken out about the globalist nature of the USMCA and how it subordinates America’s national sovereignty to international UN authorities, or how Chapter 30 of the agreement establishes an unelected “Free Trade Commission” akin to the ruling European Commission of the European Union.
This is perhaps the greatest threat to American sovereignty since then-Senator Jeff Sessions exposed how the Trans-Pacific Partnership was also a “living agreement,” establishing its own “TPP Commission,” which he described as a “nascent European Union” and a “Pacific Union.” This, more than all other reasons, underscores the urgency with which Congress ought to reject the USMCA.
The USMCA is not about actual free trade between U.S businessmen and Canadian or Mexican businessmen without government intrusion; rather, it is an agreement for managed trade under the auspices of the World Trade Organization, toward the establishment of regional and eventually world government under the pretense of freeing world trade.
It would behoove members of Congress to read the actual agreement before quibbling on how to implement the agreement. Countries, nations, kingdoms, and city-states have traded with one another for thousands of years without the WTO, GATT, or other international trade regimes. We’ve done it before and we can do it again.
Rejection of the USMCA and withdrawal from both NAFTA and the WTO would not preclude trade with Canada and Mexico; rather, it would restore the sovereignty of all three countries to control their own trade policy as all parties see fit to benefit their own country and people, rather than benefiting Deep State globalist Insiders.
Rather than relying on Democrats to potentially stop the USMCA, concerned citizens passionate about America’s national sovereignty, patriots, Americanists, and constitutionalists should consider joining The John Birch Society and taking part in its action project entitled Get US Out! of NAFTA & Stop the USMCA. As former President Ronald Reagan once said, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
Will Americans spend their sunset years telling future posterity what it was once like to be free and independent, or will their national sovereignty be protected and preserved for future generations? In order to truly make America great again, it must be free and independent from all regional and global “free trade” schemes.