Sherrod Brown backs new North American trade deal: ‘This will be the first trade agreement I’ve ever voted for’

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Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump trade deal likely to sow division in Democratic presidential field On The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday Pelosi announces support for new Trump NAFTA deal MORE (D-Ohio) on Friday announced his support for President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial Vulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Trump appears to set personal record for tweets in a day MORE‘s recently announced deal with Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiVulnerable Democrats tout legislative wins, not impeachment Photographer leaves Judiciary hearing after being accused of taking photos of member notes Overnight Health Care — Presented by That’s Medicaid — House passes sweeping Pelosi bill to lower drug prices | Senate confirms Trump FDA pick | Trump officials approve Medicaid work requirements in South Carolina MORE (D-Calif.) on a revamped North American trade agreement, saying it will be the first trade deal he has ever supported.

Brown, a vocal skeptic of global trade pacts and a chief advocate for labor rights, praised Democrats’ efforts to revise the initial deal struck by the Trump administration while backing the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) reached this week.

“One of my proudest votes was against NAFTA, because I knew it would encourage multinational corporations to close factories in Ohio and offshore jobs to Mexico,” Brown said in a statement, referring to the North American Free Trade Agreement signed in the 1990s.

“The agreement President Trump negotiated wasn’t much better, and I have spent more than a year working to make it more pro-worker,” he continued.

“We fought tooth and nail against the administration, and with the support of Speaker Pelosi, Senator Wyden, and the union movement, we secured significant improvements for workers that President Trump’s initial agreement left out, namely stronger enforcement,” Brown added.

The statement comes as Democrats work to gin up support for the revised North American trade pact, after striking a deal with the White House over certain revisions they had long sought.

Pelosi said that the agreements include stronger environmental and labor standards intended to help U.S. workers and will require Mexico to raise its minimum wage. Canada will also be allowed to buy more U.S. goods online duty-free and will also install a new regime of rules relating to digital trade.

At a press conference earlier this week, Pelosi said she hoped to pass legislation for the trade deal before Christmas but would give time for Democrats to read and weigh in on the final negotiated deal.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate gears up for battle over witnesses in impeachment trial McConnell: I doubt any GOP senator will vote to impeach Trump McConnell says he’ll be in ‘total coordination’ with White House on impeachment trial strategy MORE (R-Ky.), however, said his chamber will not take up the deal until after an impeachment trial, which is expected to begin in January.

Senate Republicans have expressed frustration to the administration over the White House’s deal with House Democrats, saying they were not kept in the loop in the final-stage negotiation that resulted in the concessions to Pelosi.

Despite the criticism from his own party, Trump has urged Congress to forge ahead with the deal, hoping to tout it as a major legislative win as he campaigns for reelection in 2020.

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