The US Senate has passed President Donald Trump’s United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, despite the opposition of several Democrats. The pact’s passage is a legislative victory for Trump ahead of his impeachment trial.
The USMCA was agreed by Trump and his Canadian and Mexican counterparts in 2018, and languished in Congress since, despite repeated protestations from Trump. After passing the House with bipartisan support in December, it finally passed the Senate on Thursday, with 89 Senators voting in favor and ten opposing. The agreement is a renegotiation of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a deal that was widely criticized in the 1990s for allowing American manufacturers to move production to Mexico.
The deal now only needs Trump’s signature to become law. For the president, its passage is the second legislative victory in as many days.
Wednesday marked the signing of the first part of a trade accord between the US and China, a deal that pauses the two-year trade war between Washington and Beijing, and stipulates that China will increase its imports of American goods.
Yet as the agreement passed, House Democrats appointed as prosecutors stood in the Senate and read the impeachment charges against Trump, formally beginning his trial.
Though the USMCA enjoyed bipartisan support in both houses of Congress, a number of Senate Democrats opposed its passage. Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vermont) and Chuck Schumer (New York) both gave the deal the thumbs down, citing a lack of climate protections in its text.
Once signed by Trump, the USMCA will need to be approved by Canada. The House of Commons in Ottawa will debate the agreement in the coming weeks.