Dec. 20 (UPI) — The House on Thursday voted 358-41 to approve the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement after more than a year of negotiating with the White House.
The legislation passed with a vote of 385-41, receiving strong bipartisan support as a large majority of Democrats voted to approve the deal and send it to the Senate, which is expected to vote to pass it next year.
“We stuck to it and so we’ve arrived at this ‘it can never happen’ moment,” House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal, D-Mass., said. “I think it is a template for the future.”
The USMCA keeps much of North American Free Trade Agreement in place, but adds considerations for digital trade, and requires 75 percent of vehicle parts to be made in one of the three countries to remain tariff-free and that 45 percent of car components be made by factory workers earning $16 per hour.
It also increases U.S. farmers’ access to the Canadian dairy market and protects digital trade across borders.
President Donald Trump signed the original version of the trade deal with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto in November of 2018, calling it the “largest, most significant, modern and balanced trade agreement in history.”
The USMCA remained in the House for more than a year as Democrats in the chamber negotiated with Trump for stronger environmental and labor protections.
“The agreement that was originally sent to Congress was light-years away from what we’re considering today,” Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said.