Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has an unlikely ally in Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas when it comes to a last-minute push for changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. They’re pushing to strip the trade pact of language shielding internet companies from liability over user-generated content.
The protection has come under scrutiny in Washington, D.C., as companies like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, come under fire for harmful content and political misinformation on their pages. Critics are arguing that putting those protections in trade deals limits Congressional ability to reconsider them domestically.
However, Republican lawmakers see the effort to eliminate the language as a last chance move to delay the trade deal. Adding in a new and potentially controversial request could significantly delay the process that everyone involved repeatedly says is close to finishing up.
Texas Democrat Henry Cuellar said the U.S. put an additional demand on the table that Mexico “doesn’t want to touch.” He didn’t say what the new demand was but did say that it came about as Mexico was “pretty much almost ready to go.”
Both the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement and a phase one agreement of a deal between the U.S. and China appear to be slowly edging forward.
The Hagstrom Report quotes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as saying, “We are within range of a substantially improved agreement for America’s workers. Now, we need to see our progress in writing from the trade representative for a final review.” The Trump Administration says that U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer will provide a written agreement to Congress this week.
Trump is continuing to push House Democrats to bring the agreement up for a vote. “House Democrats have insisted that hard-working Americans need more from the USMCA than just the same broken NAFTA with better language but no real enforcement,” Pelosi says. “It still left American workers exposed to losing their jobs to Mexico.”
Meanwhile, President Trump says the phase one deal with China is “close.” At the same time, he also says the U.S. is monitoring the situation in Hong Kong. “We’re in the final throes of a very important deal,” Trump says. “It’s going very well, but at the same time we want to see things go well in Hong Kong.” Trump’s comments last week came just hours after a phone call between the Chinese Vice-Premier, USTR Robert Lighthizer, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.