WASHINGTON — Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says “this day is years in the making” as the Senate Finance Committee which he chairs will take up the U.S. Mexico-Canada Agreement today.
“This is good news for millions of farmers, manufacturers and workers in every corner of America,” Grassley says. “I expect USMCA to receive near-unanimous support both in my committee today and when the full Senate votes very soon.”
Exactly how soon is the big question, however, as Senate Leader Mitch McConnell will have to schedule the USMCA vote around what Grassley calls the “very wild card” of the impeachment of President Trump. “He’s impeded in saying exactly when that can happen,” Grassley says, “because the minute that Speaker Pelosi decides to send over the articles of impeachment, if she decides to do that, then that’s going to have priority over everything else in the United States Senate.”
In his decades in office, Grassley says he’s worked on at least 20 major trade agreements, but USMCA is unique. “This is the first treaty agreement that I’ve been involved in where we didn’t have what’s called a ‘markup’ before the treaty actually came up here,” Grassley says. “Once the treaty comes up here, it can’t be amended.”
The agreement needs to pass both chambers of Congress. The House ratified USMCA in December, the same week it passed the two articles of impeachment.