McConnell bashed by Dems for delaying USMCA vote until after impeachment trial

closeNancy Pelosi: 'No question' USMCA 'much better than NAFTA'Video

Nancy Pelosi: 'No question' USMCA 'much better than NAFTA'

Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses the USMCA negotiations

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., took fire from House Democrats on Tuesday after saying he will wait until after President Trump's impeachment trial is over before bringing the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) to the Senate floor for a vote.

USMCA would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which went into effect in 1994 under former President Bill Clinton. Trump has been an outspoken advocate of the new pact and has publicly pushed for House Democrats to hold a final vote.

McConnell announced his decision shortly after House Democrats said they'd reached an agreement with the White House on how to proceed.

"We will not be doing USMCA in the Senate between now and next week," McConnell said at a Capitol Hill news conference. "That will happen… right after the [impeachment] trial is finished in the Senate."

TRUMP CALLS ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT 'WEAK' AND ONLY REASON DEMS AGREED TO USMCA

A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., criticized McConnell's stance and said he has no legitimate reason for delaying the Senate vote, claiming each chamber could approve the measure simultaneously.

“The House and Senate passed Korea, Panama and Colombia trade agreements on the same day. Senator McConnell has no excuse not to bring up the USMCA," the spokesman said.

Fox News reached out to McConnell's office for comment and was told that the Majority Leader does not view his decision as a delay. His office referred Fox News to the rules under the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA), which state that the Senate can take up to 30 days to consider the House bill.

"The Senate Finance Committee must report the bill no later than 15 session days after the House passes the bill," the Senate Republican Policy Committee website states. "If the Finance Committee fails to report the bill, it is automatically placed on the Senate calendar for a vote. The full Senate vote must take place within 15 session days after report or discharge to the floor."

TRUMP, AT PENNSYLVANIA RALLY, SAYS 'STUPID' IMPEACHMENT INDIRECTLY LED TO USMCA DEAL

McConnell's office also pointed to a September op-ed co-authored by the majority leader in support of USMCA and said it was ironic for House Democrats to accuse the GOP of delaying the legislation.

"The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is unambiguously a win for America. It would create new jobs, expand export markets, strengthen protections for workers and generate billions of dollars in new prosperity," McConnell wrote at the time. "The USMCA would also help keep North American partners close while the U.S. hangs tough with China."

Trump addressed the drama during a campaign rally in the swing state of Pennsylvania on Tuesday and claimed Democrats are only supporting USMCA to take the focus off their failed impeachment attempt.

"The silver lining of impeachment and this witch hunt, that's the reason they approved USMCA," he said. “They were very embarrassed by it."

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House Democrats are reportedly planning to hold a vote on USMCA sometime next week.

Original Article

Trump, at Pennsylvania rally, says ‘stupid’ impeachment indirectly led to USMCA deal

closeTrump, Pence speak at Keep America Great RallyVideo

Trump, Pence speak at Keep America Great Rally

President Trump was headlining a rally in the key swing state of Pennsylvania on a momentous day in his presidency after House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment against him, even as they also handed him a breakthrough political victory by finally approving his new trade deal to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

"Congress will soon vote on my new trade deal," Trump announced at the rally. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "did it on the same day they announced they are going to impeach the 45th president of the United States and your favorite president. And the reason they announced it on the same day, one hour later, they announced impeachment … you know why? It plays down the impeachment, because they're embarrassed by impeachment, and our poll numbers have gone through the roof because of her stupid impeachment."

Trump added: "The silver lining of impeachment and this witch hunt, that's the reason they approved USMCA," a reference to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

Tuesday night's rally gave Trump an opportunity to deliver his response to thousands of die-hard supporters in person. He spent much of the day blasting Democrats on Twitter, saying that impeaching a president “who has done NOTHING wrong, is sheer Political Madness!"

Before leaving the White House, Trump said Democrats were “embarrassed” by the introduction of articles of impeachment against him, and cited polls showing declining support for impeachment in key swing states. Trump argued that's why Democrats finally announced earlier Tuesday they supported USMCA, the modernization of NAFTA that the president made the top legislative priority of the year.

“They were very embarrassed by it,” Trump claimed to reporters. “That’s why they brought up USMCA an hour after.”

“They wanted to muffle down impeachment,” Trump added. He then tweeted that he was on his way to Hershey in south-central Pennsylvania, adding, "I love Hershey chocolate!" At the rally, Trump emphasized that he likes Hershey chocolate.

The event was being held in a Republican-leaning congressional district, and thousands lined up early for seats. Former state Sen. Scott Wagner reportedly offered to pay up to $20,000 in security costs for the event on behalf of the local government.

Trump eked out a 2016 win in Pennsylvania by piling up support with rural and working-class white voters. He'd need to hold that support to counter any energy from Democrats in the suburbs of Philadelphia.

Congressional passage of USMCA "will be a significant win for farmers, workers and all Americans," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, the Iowa Republican chairing the chamber's Finance Committee. "Renegotiating NAFTA was a central campaign promise made by President Trump. He kept his word and Americans will enjoy the many benefits of this upgraded trade deal as a result."

Approving the agreement gave House Democrats, particularly those from more conservative districts, a useful talking point when they head home for the holidays. Many had been reluctant to face voters with few legislative achievements beyond impeaching the president, and Pelosi emphasized the deal's importance to American workers.

USMCA "will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA," President Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence said the Democrats' move was a victory for Trump's policy and showed Pelosi and her caucus acquiescing "to the voice of the American people."

President Trump walking from the Oval Office as he headed to speak with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the Pennsylvania rally Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

President Trump walking from the Oval Office as he headed to speak with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before departing for the Pennsylvania rally Tuesday. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

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The USMCA, which would overhaul Clinton-era NAFTA, would require that 75 percent of automobile components be manufactured in the United States, Canada and Mexico in order to avoid tariffs, and that 40 to 45 percent of automobile parts be made by workers earning at least $16 an hour by 2023.

"More than 12 million American jobs depend on our $1.4 trillion trading relationship with Canada and Mexico, and USMCA will strengthen this trade relationship," said Tom Linebarger, the CEO of engine-maker Cummins Inc. and chairman of the Business Roundtable's trade and international committee. The Roundtable has represented the CEOs of the 200 largest U.S. companies.

Fox Business Network's Jonathan Garber, Fox News' Charles Creitz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Trump calls articles of impeachment ‘weak’ and only reason Dems agreed to USMCA

closeRep. Jim Banks: 'Shame on Speaker Pelosi' for politicizing impeachment and USMCAVideo

Rep. Jim Banks: 'Shame on Speaker Pelosi' for politicizing impeachment and USMCA

Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) shares his reaction to the House Judiciary Committee issuing two articles of impeachment against President Trump for Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. He also weighs in on the GOP's biggest takeaways from the impeachment inquiry.

In his first public remarks since Democrats formally announced articles of impeachment against him, President Trump called the two charges leveled against him “weak” and said the only reason Democrats agreed to a modified North American trade deal was because of impeachment.

Speaking on the White House lawn before departing for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday, Trump called it a “disgrace” to “make impeachment out of nothing,” while touting both the strength of the economy and recent polling that showed him ahead of his Democratic rivals in the 2020 presidential race.

Trump’s comments came hours after House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment against the president on Tuesday morning, saying that his actions toward Ukraine “betrayed the nation.” The specific charges: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

DEMOCRATS UNVEIL IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES, AS WHITE HOUSE SLAMS 'BASELESS AND PARTISAN' EFFORT

Earlier, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., at the Capitol, said they were upholding their solemn oath to defend the Constitution. Trump responded angrily on Twitter: “WITCH HUNT!”

Voting is expected in a matter of days by the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House. The charges, if approved, would then be sent to the Senate, where the Republican majority would be unlikely to convict Trump, but not without a potentially bitter trial just as voters in Iowa and other early presidential primary states begin making their choices.

Rep. Karen Bass: I think we are ‘rock solid’ on impeachment vote in the houseVideo

In the formal articles announced Tuesday, the Democrats said Trump enlisted a foreign power in “corrupting” the U.S. election process and endangered national security by asking Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, including Democrat Joe Biden, while withholding U.S. military aid as leverage. That benefited Russia over the U.S. as America's ally fought Russian aggression, the Democrats said.

Trump then obstructed Congress by ordering current and former officials to defy House subpoenas for testimony and by blocking access to documents, the charges say.

READ THE IMPEACHMENT ARTICLE TEXT

Shortly after Democrats introduced the articles of impeachment, the White House and Democrats announced reached an agreement on the revamped U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

“There is no question of course that this trade agreement is much better than [the North American Free Trade Agreement]," Pelosi said when announcing the agreement, saying the pact is “infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration."

Trump said the revamped trade pact will “be great" for the United States.

Rep. Liz Cheney says no self-respecting elected official would support articles of impeachment against TrumpVideo

“It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody – Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions — tremendous support. Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!,” the president said in a tweet.

A U.S. House vote is likely before Congress adjourns for the year, and the Senate is likely to vote in January or February. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the vote on the trade deal will likely occur after an expected impeachment trial in the Senate.

Fox News' Kelly Chernenkoff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article