House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement slamming the Trump administration for moving too fast on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement (USMCA), after the White House has sent Congress a draft statement on the new deal.
Sending the draft statement now, Pelosi said, was "not a positive step."
"The Trump Administration's decision to send Congress a draft statement of administrative action before we have finished working with U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer to ensure the USMCA benefits American workers and farmers is not a positive step," Pelosi wrote. "It indicates a lack of knowledge on the part of the Administration on the policy and process to pass a trade agreement."
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has been meeting with Pelosi and other Democrats to discuss the deal negotiated by President Trump to replace NAFTA. Pelosi appears to have a good rapport with Lighthizer, saying in a recent interview with the Washington Post that she thinks the trade representative "cares about American workers" and is "fabulous."
However, Democrats have concerns over the trade deal's enforcement mechanisms for labor standards, prescription drug costs, and environmental protections, a point Pelosi repeated.
"Democrats have continued to work productively and with great respect for Ambassador Lighthizer around the priorities of labor standards to defend the jobs and wages of American workers, lower prescription drug costs and meaningful environmental protections. We must have strong enforcement provisions within the agreement," Pelosi said in her statement.
Mr. Trump criticized Pelosi last week, calling her "crazy." Asked why his administration hasn't yet sent the text of the USMCA bill to Congress yet, the president responded, "Well they're being very nice to her because they really you know she's a mess. Look let's face it, she doesn't understand it. And they sort of feel she is disintegrating before their eyes. She does not understand it. ... So she's gotta get up to snuff, learn the bill, and by the way I think she wants to approve it, I think."
Pelosi's statement was issued soon after Vice President Mike Pence and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met on Thursday.