Issue: H.R. 5430, United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act (USMCA) (A bill to implement the Agreement between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada attached as an Annex to the Protocol Replacing the North American Free Trade Agreement). Question: On Passage of the Bill (H.R. 5430).
Result: Passed in Senate, 89 to 10, 1 not voting. (Passed by the House, Roll Call 701, 12-19-19). Became Public Law No. 116-3 (signed by the President, 1–29–2020). GOP only scored.
Freedom First Society: The USMCA is an Internationalist power grab masquerading as a trade agreement, using promised trade benefits as the bait — an absolute scam, but very effective in enlisting congressional support! The USMCA updates the 1993 NAFTA pact, and, in so doing, continues, and expands, an unconstitutional delegation of authority to unelected regional bodies.
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With the USMCA, Internationalists further empower regional bodies following the deceptive strategy they used to pull the nations of Europe into the EU. Their ultimate goal is to merge regional governments they control into totalitarian world government.
The USMCA itself focuses heavily on regional enforcement of labor and environmental “standards” as requirements for trade. In fact, the greatest resistance in Congress came from the extreme Left, e.g., radical Democrats who argued the agreement should enforce more of their climate-change agenda. In short, they cast the right vote but for the wrong reason. So we do not score the Democrats on this one.
We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)
Analysis: The arguments in the Senate debate over the USMCA had the wrong focus — trade benefits and stronger enforcement — much like those in the House. So we refer readers especially to our analysis of H.R. 5430 and the USMCA in scoring the House vote last year (House Roll Call 701, 12-19-19).
The USMCA steppingstone to regional government is not theory. The European Union is a fact. David Rockefeller, a late leader of the U.S. Establishment, gave strong support to NAFTA, and earlier U.S. Insiders supported Jean Monnet who would earn the title “Father of Europe” for his “leadership in the drive to build a united Europe. Indeed, Monnet would subsequently acknowledge that U.S. Marshall funds were “used with the intention of encouraging European unity.”
The European Union is not the final stage in European integration. But it has already established its authority in overturning British laws and in opening national borders to unwanted migration. However, to avoid duplication of the record of Internationalist totalitarian aims with regionalism, we again refer readers to our analysis of H.R. 5430 when scoring the House vote last year (House Roll Call 701, 12-19-19). Even more of the record is present in Chapter 7 “Progressive Regionalization” of Masters of Deception — The Rise of the Council on Foreign Relations.
What is not discussed in the House and Senate debates are the real reasons we had manufacturing and industry flight. U.S. Insiders promoted that flight with carrots and sticks, in particular to build up Communist China as an economic powerhouse.
Although trade is good for countries, it is not usually the major origin of prosperity. An increase in capital investment per worker is the key, and that requires a stable environment. Prosperity is not accomplished through legislation or enforcement of provisions in a trade pact; it requires efficient production. Mexico’s relatively low-wage scale cannot be equalized with her neighbors to the North merely by legislation. She needs to get rid of the socialism that has been promoted by U.S. Insiders throughout Latin America (e.g., there was an old quip that Fidel Castro got his job through the New York Times).
Also, we must reject the socialist class-warfare deception. Corporate interests and labor interests aren’t necessarily opposed to each other.
Although we refer readers to our critique of the House debate, we include below a couple of excerpts from the Senate debates. Despite the overwhelming support for the agreement in the Senate, the remarks of opponents are equally instructive.
Congressional Record Senate (1-15-20 & 1-16-20)
Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent from Vermont): “Mr. President, I rise in opposition to the NAFTA 2.0 trade agreement negotiated by President Trump. This agreement is opposed by labor unions like the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, as well as by the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union. It is opposed by numerous environmental organizations, including the Sunrise Movement, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, the League of Conservation Voters, and virtually every major environmental organization in the country….
“I am proud to stand with these labor unions, with the environmental groups, and family farmers against President Trump’s NAFTA 2.0. I not only voted against NAFTA in 1993, but I marched against it….
“There is a reason why virtually every major environmental group is opposed to Trump’s NAFTA 2.0. This agreement does nothing to stop fossil fuel companies like ExxonMobil and Chevron from dumping their waste and pollution into Mexico and destroying the environment….
“The scientific community has been very clear. If we do not act boldly and aggressively to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy, the future of this planet is in doubt, and there is no question but that the Nation and planet we leave to our children and to our grandchildren will be increasingly unhealthy and uninhabitable. We have a major climate crisis and no trade deal should be passed that does not address that issue.”
Freedom First Society: Socialist Bernie Sanders certainly carries forth the propaganda of the Left. But let us remember the wisdom of the great 20th Century historian Oswald Spengler. Spengler had it figured out when he wrote in his classic Decline of the West:
There is no proletarian, not even a Communist, movement, that has not operated in the interest of money, in the directions indicated by money, and for the time permitted by money — and that, without the idealist amongst its leaders having the slightest suspicion of the fact.
The major environmental groups were funded by the Establishment (e.g., see our review of Steve Milloy’s Green Hell). So it should not be surprising that they support the Establishment-funded climate models that project doomsday from man-made climate change. Their solution to their hyped-crisis is more power to government and the UN to address the crisis. See, for example, our post “Crisis-Hyping — What’s at Stake!”
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon): “[The USMCA] now has the strongest trade enforcement system ever written into a trade agreement. There are significant new resources put into protecting American workers….
“For decades, there has been a lot of happy talk in Washington about enforcing trade laws, but the government just moved too slowly and did too little to protect American workers when trade cheats came after their jobs….
“The original NAFTA was a part of the problem. It made strong enforcement almost impossible and was particularly a problem with labor rights in Mexico. The same government that allowed corporations to undercut American jobs by paying rock bottom wages and abusing rights in Mexico had the power to actually block our country from fighting back for the workers. So it was a head-scratcher when the Trump administration proposed essentially a new NAFTA that kept the old NAFTA enforcement system. It ought to have been the first part of the original NAFTA that they threw in the trash can, but, sure enough, in 2018, the Trump administration agreed to language on trade enforcement that really did not enforce anything.
“So Senator Brown, who has fought for years for tough trade law enforcement, said: We are going to get together, and we are going to change this. We put together a proposal that makes the U.S. enforcement system faster, tougher, and directly responsive to American workers and businesses that are targeted by the trade cheats. Our approach puts trade enforcement boots on the ground to identify when factories in Mexico break the labor standards we should insist on. It will be a lot easier to penalize the violators and protect the jobs they threaten to undercut. Senator Brown and I worked with our colleagues, Democratic colleagues on the Finance Committee, but we talked to plenty of Republicans as well. We took our ideas to the House leadership. We got their input and support.
“We told the Trump administration that tough enforcement with what has come to be known as the Brown-Wyden proposal was going to be a prerequisite to getting the new NAFTA through Congress. As I said, I think this is the toughest labor enforcement measure that our country has seen, and that is a big reason why the AFL-CIO has endorsed the bill. When you combine this all-in approach to enforcement with significant new standards on labor and environmental protection, you also get the benefit of beginning to stop the race to the bottom. You raise other countries to the standards set by our country instead of forcing American workers to compete in a game that is rigged against them. These have been core Democratic trade policies for a long time. Commitments on labor and the environment weren’t a part of the original NAFTA.
“I think it is only appropriate to have a special Senate shout-out for Ambassador Lighthizer, who has been straight with members of our committee.”
Freedom First Society: 1) It is instructive that during the House and Senate “debates,” Democrats often paid respect to U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer, a member of the Establishment’s powerful Council on Foreign Relations, even though they regularly assailed President Trump who had selected Lighthizer to negotiate the agreement. 2) American workers need protection from the socialists in our government and the Establishment elite who are working to steal our freedom and destroy American middle-class opportunity. Low-wage foreign workers do not threaten American prosperity. Instead, middle-class opportunity has been undermined by the U.S. government’s carrots [e.g., the Export-Import bank] and sticks [taxes and regulatory burden] that have caused American capital — heavy industry and manufacturing — to move to socialist and Communist countries.
Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), president pro-tempore of the Senate and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance: Mr. President, before I start my remarks, I think it is important for all Senators to know that when there were negotiations going on between the White House and the Democrats in the House of Representatives, one of the real sticking points was enforcement. I think everybody expects a trade agreement to be enforced, but a lot more had to be done than what was originally agreed to when the agreement was signed. I want to recognize Senator Wyden and Senator Brown because months before, maybe even years before — I don’t want to take away from how hard they were working on some ways of improving enforcement — but at least they had an idea out there that was salable to both sides. I don’t know whether it was 100 percent or 90 percent or 80 percent that was incorporated in this bill, but their laying the groundwork was the basis for getting an agreement between the White House and the House of Representatives so we could move this to the point where the Senate is going to pass it tomorrow, I hope. So I thank Senator Wyden and Senator Brown, who is not here, but maybe you can tell him I said thank you….
“With the passage of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement by what will be an overwhelming margin here in the U.S. Senate, America’s economy will continue to thrive and drive prosperity for hard-working American farmers, workers, and taxpayers all across our economy. You have heard the old saying: ‘A rising tide lifts all boats.’ The new NAFTA, the bill that we are working on, puts a bigger oar in the water for our trilateral trade relationship with our northern and southern neighbors. It is important to point out that we wouldn’t be here without the bold leadership and the determination of President Trump. The President is doing exactly what he said he would do….
“We heard, during the campaign, that it was the President’s opinion that it is the worst agreement that has ever been made. I might not agree with the extreme of that, but I do know, as Senator Wyden has pointed out, that there were a lot of things that weren’t even negotiable 30 years ago when we first sought NAFTA, and at least an updating needed to be done. The President has done more than update. As the President promised during his campaign, at the end of the day, President Trump successfully steered that final trade pact into the 21st century. He did so with a tireless and tenacious team of advisers, especially the leadership of the U.S. Trade Representative, Bob Lighthizer. Senator Wyden just gave more adjectives to Bob Lighthizer’s work, and I associate myself with the remarks and the description that Senator Wyden gave to Bob Lighthizer’s heavy lift to get this job done because Bob Lighthizer worked in good faith to broker and fine-tune the USMCA
“Mr. Lighthizer built a broad and sweeping coalition to improve labor and environmental protections in a balanced fashion, and Mr. Lighthizer built a broad and sweeping coalition that will end up growing wages for our workers. He ensured that all of this would be subject to strong enforcement, which is the bedrock of any good trade agreement, and it is in that enforcement that he took good ideas from Wyden and Brown….
“According to the U.S. International Trade Commission, the USMCA will raise real GDP by more than $68 billion, and USMCA will create nearly 176,000 jobs. So, all told, the trade pact is forecast to boost farm and food exports by at least $2.2 billion….
“Under the Trump economy, the United States is enjoying the longest economic expansion in U.S. history. Ratification of the USMCA will help America’s economic engine fire on all cylinders and refuel prosperity in rural America.”
Freedom First Society: 1) Here we see a Republican leader endorsing the efforts of Leftist Democrats to ramp up enforcement. But neither party was willing to discuss the delegation of North American enforcing authority to unelected bodies. 2) The Internationalists who orchestrate these trade agreements do not seek greater prosperity for America. Indeed, they have long been at war with America’s middle class, a crucial bulwark of opportunity. The middle class won’t be rescued without an understanding of the forces seeking its demise (see our booklet The Marxist Attack on the Middle Class).