WASHINGTON, D.C. – The top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee Kevin Brady (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement during the Floor Debate on the Implementing Legislation for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA):
“Thank you, Madame Speaker,
“Yesterday with impeachment was a low mark in partisanship.
“Today we have the opportunity to set a high mark in consensus and bipartisanship. Today is a momentous day.
“We will finally consider the implementing bill that brings the trade relationship between the United States, Canada, and Mexico into the 21st Century.
“This trade agreement is sorely needed.
“It has been over 25 years since we first established this trade relationship through NAFTA. So much has changed since then.
“For one thing, when we passed NAFTA, the phone booths by the Ways and Means hearing room actually had payphones in them.
“A new 21st century trade agreement will be a force multiplier for America’s already strong economy. And today marks the day two years ago that the House approved the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act for the first time. It’s transformed America’s economy.
“President Trump and Ambassador Lighthizer have fought hard and delivered on their promise for a pro-growth and modern trade pact. And because of their outstanding leadership, and working closely withour congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle, we now have a trade agreement that will deliver historic wins for our economy.
“And that’s because this is a trade agreement that is all about growth. USMCA will set the stage for billions more in economic activity.
“It creates, for the first time, rules for competing in the digital economy, to the advantage of America’s manufacturers and farmers across so many sectors. It pries open Canada’s market for U.S. farmers and ranchers to sell American dairy, wheat, chicken, eggs, and turkey. It improves the competitive position of our manufacturers, our services companies, and our small businesses. It ends the race to the bottom created by what had been Mexico’s poor labor laws.
“And best of all, the agreement is enforceable, allowing us to challenge violations and to stop countries from blocking those challenges, holding Mexico and Canada accountable for these new rules.
“More jobs. More customers.
“America’s innovators will get the tools they need to succeed here as we compete with countries like China.
“Independent experts predict this new agreement will spur over $68 billion in new economic activity.
“More than 176,000 American jobs are set to be created, including 76,000 in our auto-sector. That’s good news for everyone.
“And best of all for the American people, USMCA is a truly bipartisan agreement.
“To Chairman Neal’s credit, because of his remarkable hard work, House Democrats including Chairman Blumenauer and my Texas colleague Henry Cuellar and many others worked in good faith with Ranking Member Buchanan and Ambassador Lighthizer to get on a path to yes.
“And we are glad to see so many Republican priorities were retained.
“In the agreement before us today, we have labor and environmental rules that are realistic, measurable, and enforceable.
“What is NOT in this agreement are provisions for which there is no consensus, like the Paris Climate Accord.
“It’s not a perfect agreement – no trade agreements are. And we’ll continue to improve the areas that we think the areas can be in future agreements.
“In any event, American workers have a major victory in USMCA, and I’m proud to support it—it’s just a shame Speaker Pelosi held it up for so long.
“It has been over a year since President Trump and our North American neighbors signed the new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
“It has been over half a year since Mexico ratified the initial agreement and they’ve undertaken transformational labor reform.
“And due to Democrats’ misguided obsession with impeachment, they neglected moving forward on this pro-worker and pro-growth trade agreement for far too long.
“Nonetheless, today I am so encouraged that we are here today finally moving forward on this new, strengthened North American trade agreement.
“Because in the end, USMCA will not be a Republican win or a Democratic win, but a win for the American people and a stronger, more prosperous alliance with our North American trading partners.”
For more information on USMCA, go here.