In this file:
· NYT: Impeachment Fight May Help a New NAFTA Deal
· Ahead of Trump fundraiser, Vice President Mike Pence pushes U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal
Impeachment Fight May Help a New NAFTA Deal
By Carl Hulse and Emily Cochrane, The New York Times (NYT)
Oct. 7, 2019
WASHINGTON — The escalating impeachment drama between Congress and the White House that has all but doomed hopes of most legislative progress this fall has instead enhanced the prospects for approval, within weeks, of one major initiative: a sweeping new trade agreement among the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Top lawmakers in both parties and others closely following the talks said that substantial progress had been made in resolving the sticking points, and that a decisive House vote on the accord to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement could occur before Congress departed for Thanksgiving.
The deal may be a rare bright spot in an otherwise dysfunctional dynamic that has taken hold in the capital, and it owes its progress to a coincidence of timing, productive negotiations that have unfolded behind closed doors for months and political necessity for two parties that each has distinct reasons to hope it succeeds.
“We are on a path to yes,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters last week in one of the strongest signals yet that she would put the full weight of her leadership behind passage of the agreement, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Both parties have strong political incentives to approve the trade deal despite deep Democratic skepticism over such pacts after American jobs flowed into Mexico after the ratification of NAFTA in 1993.
For President Trump and Republicans, the agreement is a major priority that could bolster American businesses and help struggling farmers, while showing voters that they have been good stewards of the economy. For Democrats, the accord is a way to give lawmakers from swing districts a broadly popular achievement to show constituents, and a way to counter criticism that they have accomplished little during their time in Washington, which has more often consisted of passing legislation that dies in the Republican-controlled Senate.
That has become even more important now that House Democrats are engaged in an impeachment inquiry that could lead to the president’s ouster. Democrats who represent Republican-leaning districts are facing a potential backlash from Republican and independent voters angry over the Democrats’ emphasis on impeachment, and they are looking for ways to show that they can still produce policies that benefit Americans.
“We are going to demonstrate that simultaneously you can govern,” said Representative Richard E. Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat who leads the Ways and Means Committee. Mr. Neal is leading a delegation to Mexico for a meeting on Tuesday with President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to seek final assurances over aspects of the trade agreement.
Top Democrats also see the agreement as a vehicle to achieve some major progressive goals that would otherwise be impossible to extract from a Republican administration. Republicans are considering potential sweeteners for Democrats, including a plan to shore up pensions that has been sought by Mr. Neal and labor unions.
House Democrats and Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, have been exchanging proposals and counterproposals for weeks, trying to satisfy demands for labor and environmental guarantees...
Ahead of Trump fundraiser, Vice President Mike Pence pushes U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal
Natalie Allison and Joel Ebert, Nashville Tennessean
Oct. 7, 2019
Vice President Mike Pence came to Nashville to tout a new trade deal on Monday during a public event before appearing at a private fundraiser for President Donald Trump.
"I came to Tennessee today to say it's time for Congress to pass the U.S.-Mexico-Canada agreement and to pass it this year," he said while speaking at the Goodlettsville Tyson Foods plant from where packaged beef and pork are shipped to grocery stores around the country.
Pence toured the facility, which is not involved in international exports. The company, however, exports roughly $5 billion in products each year.
A few hundred Tennessee Republicans filed into rows of folding chairs set up in the plant's employee cafeteria, arriving hours before the vice president took the stage to speak in favor of the USMCA trade deal.
The USMCA, a deal that, if passed, would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. It could soon come for a vote in Congress.
While Democrats have proposed changes to the deal in favor of more regulations on environmental and labor issues, ongoing impeachment efforts against Trump could interfere with bipartisan negotiations on the trade agreement.
"It's time for Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats in Congress to set politics aside and pass the USMCA," Pence said, surrounded on stage by uniformed Tyson employees.
Pence announced Tyson was creating another Tennessee plant, this one in the western part of the state. It is expected to create 1,500 jobs, the vice president said.
After the crowd heard remarks from a Tyson representative in favor of USMCA, Gov. Bill Lee welcomed Pence and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, the former Georgia governor.
Lee praised Pence and Perdue's efforts to pass the trade agreement, noting his own family has spent decades raising livestock in rural Williamson County.
Lee discussed how Tennessee would be impacted by the trade agreement.
"There's a lot hinging on the ability for our farmers to trade with our North American farmers," the governor said, contending that $2.2 billion of agricultural trade would be "unleashed" as a result of the agreement...