The House could vote on the U.S., Mexico, Canada Agreement (USMCA) as soon as next week, according to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).
In an exclusive interview with Pro Farmer policy analyst Jim Wiesemeyer and Farm Journal news director John Herath for the DC Signal to Noise Podcast, Peterson said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to get the USMCA vote on the fast track.
“[USMCA Working Group chair] Richard [Neal] (D-Mass.) told me he is going to try to move it when we get back next week, or the week after, so he’s pushing hard,” Peterson said. “It’s going to get done. The question is, is it going to get done in those two weeks or is it going to get done in December?”
Peterson noted that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Cali.) talked about the push to pass USMCA on a caucus conference call this week.
“She was pushing and explaining the USMCA on that call, and she wouldn’t be doing that if she didn’t want to get this done,” Peterson explained. “So, this is going to get done.”
The USMCA working group has been meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to negotiate changes to the trade agreement required to get votes from both sides of the aisle. Peterson said he anticipates that work will clear the way for rapid approval in all three countries.
“They (the USMCA working group) were down there, they met with the Mexicans,” Peterson said.” They told the Mexicans what they were going to do, and if it’s going to require a re-vote (on the USMCA), I got the sense that the Mexican’s don’t think it’s a problem.”
Canadian leadership has indicated that Parliament will wait until the U.S. has a completed deal before voting on USMCA.
U.S. farm groups have presented a full-court press in support of a vote approving USMCA in recent weeks. Randy Russell of The Russell Group who represents a number of ag organizations said on the AgriTalk radio show that the agreement is crucial for farmers and ranchers.
“The Mexican government [has] already signed off on it, Canada said they’re just waiting for us to pass it and they will pass it, and I just don’t know what kind of signal that sends to our trading partners around the world,” Russell said. “If we can’t approve a deal that on all levels…I don’t care what level you’re talking about, this agreement is better than NAFTA and NAFTA has been great for U.S. agriculture. I’m very hopeful we’ll get it done, and I think we’ll get it done before Christmas.”