U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small, D-NM, voiced her support for a landmark trade deal that President Donald Trump is pushing to have ratified by Congress.
Torres Small, who represents New Mexico’s 2nd Congressional District, issued a press release Tuesday praising the newest version of the U.S-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. She urged Trump and members of Congress to work together on remaining areas of difference.
“After many months of tough trade discussions, I am grateful to President Trump, his administration and Congressional Leadership for negotiating a deal that continues to grow our state’s trade economy while securing real, enforceable labor provisions. This version of USMCA is a big win for New Mexico and America’s workers,” Torres Small said.
She said the revamped USMCA closes loopholes in the original agreement, such as one that allowed any of the three participating countries to unilaterally block labor dispute panels.
Torres Small’s statements came the same day Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and some top House Democrats announced their support of the new USMCA.
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Congress has yet to ratify the USCMA, a sweeping trilateral trade pact meant to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, which lowered trade barriers and governed trade relations between the United States, Canada and Mexico for the last 25 years.
Representatives from the three countries reached an agreement on the USMCA in November 2018, but Torres Small and other House Democrats had concerns about several issues with it.
The latest edition of the USMCA was recently agreed to by representatives from the three member nations during a ceremony in Mexico. The Mexican Senate approved it Thursday by a 107 to 1 vote, according to The Associated Press.
Passage of the USMCA has been a key priority for Trump. During a visit to Artesia in August, Vice President Mike Pence called on Congress to pass the landmark deal, touting its benefits for New Mexico’s energy industry and agriculture.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, said the USMCA will likely not be brought up until after the body concludes its impeachment trial of Trump.
In a statement Thursday, Sen. Tom Udall, D-NM, said he was encouraged by changes to the USMCA, and credits House Democrats with making improvements to the original USMCA.
He added that he will carefully review the details and gather feedback from New Mexicans to determine whether the agreement will boost New Mexico’s economy and strengthen environmental protections.
The office of Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-NM, did not respond to requests for comment before press time Saturday.
Information from the Associated Press was included in this story.
Breaking news reporter Alex Ross can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 301, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.