Issue: H.R. 5430, United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act (USMCA). Question: On Passage.
Result: Passed in House, 385 to 41, 5 not voting. Passed in Senate (Senate Vote Number 14) 1-16-20. Became Public Law 116-113 (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.
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: We divide our analysis of the USMCA into several topics. Our first and major concern is the path the USMCA is designed to lead us down — ending in totalitarian world government. We follow that topic by examining some of the deceptive claims made during the House debates that completely ignore that threat.
Internationalist Attack on U.S. Sovereignty
By design, the USMCA follows the multi-decade deception that trapped the nations of Europe in the European Union. Most ominously, the Internationalists seek to establish regional governments they control as steppingstones to totalitarian world government.
The enrolled copy of H.R. 5430 starts off with: “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.”
But only the “implementation act” itself was presented for this vote. And, as one of the Democratic opponents, Ohio’s Marci Kaptur, objected: “[I]t is being rushed through at the last moments of this session without the majority of Members even able to read it or participate in hearings on it.” So much for transparency.
To find the referenced massive 2,000 plus page “Annex,” which is also approved by H.R. 5430, one needs to go to the U.S. Trade Representative’s website. There we find the “Agreement between the United States of America, the United Mexican States, and Canada 12/13/19 Text.”
By contrast, H.R. 5430, the “implementation act,” appears sanitized with regard to much of the impact of the USMCA on U.S. sovereignty. For example, there is no mention of the World Trade Organization in H.R. 5430, but WTO agreements are accommodated in the Annex. And the House and Senate debates carefully ignore the impact on U.S. sovereignty.
H.R. 5430 does refer to some of the regional bodies that play a role in the agreement. For example, in H.R. 5430 we find mention of a “Secretariat”:
SEC. 105. ADMINISTRATION OF DISPUTE SETTLEMENT PROCEEDINGS.
(a) United States Section Of Secretariat.—
(1) ESTABLISHMENT OR DESIGNATION OF OFFICE.—The President is authorized to establish or designate within the Department of Commerce an office to serve as the United States Section of the Secretariat established under article 30.6 of the USMCA.
(2) FUNCTIONS AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANCE.—The office established or designated under paragraph (1), subject to the oversight of the interagency group established under section 411(c)(2), shall—
(A) carry out its functions within the Secretariat to facilitate the operation of the USMCA, including the operation of section D of chapter 10 and chapter 31 of the USMCA;
And H.R. 5430 authorizes the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury to support the North American Development Bank, created with NAFTA, with an additional $1.5 billion, subject to future appropriation:
Subtitle C—North American Development Bank
SEC. 831.GENERAL CAPITAL INCREASE.
Part 2 of subtitle D of title V of Public Law 103–182 (22 U.S.C. 290m et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:
“SEC. 547.FIRST CAPITAL INCREASE.
“(a) Subscription Authorized.—
“(1) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary of the Treasury is authorized to subscribe on behalf of the United States to, and make payment for, 150,000 additional shares of the capital stock of the Bank.
“(2) LIMITATION.—Any subscription by the United States to the capital stock of the Bank shall be effective only to such extent and in such amounts as are provided in advance in appropriations Acts.
“(b) Limitations On Authorization Of Appropriations.—
“(1) IN GENERAL.—In order to pay for the increase in the United States subscription to the Bank under subsection (a), there are authorized to be appropriated, without fiscal year limitation, $1,500,000,000 for payment by the Secretary of the Treasury.
“(2) ALLOCATION OF FUNDS.—Of the amount authorized to be appropriated under paragraph (1)—
“(A) $225,000,000 shall be for paid in shares of the Bank; and
“(B) $1,275,000,000 shall be for callable shares of the Bank.”.
SEC. 832.POLICY GOALS.
(a) In General.—To the extent consistent with the mission and scope of the North American Development Bank on the day before the date of the enactment of this Act and pursuant to section 2 of article II of the Charter, the Secretary of the Treasury should direct the representatives of the United States to the Board of Directors of the Bank to use the voice and vote of the United States to give preference to the financing of projects related to environmental infrastructure relating to water pollution, wastewater treatment, water conservation, municipal solid waste, stormwater drainage, non-point pollution, and related matters.
(b) Charter Defined.—In this section, the term “Charter” means the Agreement Concerning the Establishment of a Border Environment Cooperation Commission and a North American Development Bank, signed at Washington and Mexico November 16 and 18, 1993, and entered into force January 1, 1994 (TIAS 12516), between the United States and Mexico.
With the current Congress, it is hard to imagine that the $1.5 billion won’t be appropriated below the radar screen. Notice also, in the previous paragraph, the continuation of a “Border Environment Cooperation Commission,” created as part of NAFTA.
Open Borders Lead to Union
It is hard to imagine a step with greater impact on U.S. sovereignty and our unique freedom-supporting culture than opening our southern border to unrestricted migration by populations accustomed to socialism. But that’s the Internationalists’ goal.
As far back as 2001, in a September 7 house editorial, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution openly endorsed the Internationalist objective of open borders:
The ultimate goal of any White House policy ought to be a North American economic and political alliance similar in scope and ambition to the European Union. Unlike the varied landscapes and cultures of European Union members, the United States, Canada and Mexico already share a great deal in common, and language is not as great a barrier.
And the editorial mentioned approvingly that then-Mexican-President Vicente Fox “envisions a North American economic alliance that will make the border between the United States and Mexico as unrestricted as the one between Tennessee and Georgia.”
This was not the first editorial revealing such Internationalist aims. A few months earlier (July 2, 2001), the editorial page editor for the Wall Street Journal, Robert L. Bartley, went even further: In an editorial entitled “Open NAFTA Borders? Why Not?” Bartley wrote:
Reformist Mexican President Vicente Fox raises eyebrows with his suggestion that over a decade or two NAFTA should evolve into something like the European Union, with open borders for not only goods and investment but also people. He can rest assured that there is one voice north of the Rio Grande that supports his vision. To wit, this newspaper….
Indeed, during the immigration debate of 1984 we suggested an ultimate goal to guide passing policies — a constitutional amendment: ‘There shall be open borders.’”
As recorded in Masters of Deception: “Bartley was invited to join the CFR [the Internationalists’ world-government promoting Council on Foreign Relations] in 1979. He also showed up on the membership roles of the even more selective Trilateral Commission and attended the internationalist Bilderberg meetings.”
The House “Debates”
In the House, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland) opened the “debates” for the Democratic side and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for the Republican side. Subsequently, the Democratic side of the debates was controlled by the Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and the Republican side by the Ranking Member of the Committee, Rep. Kevin Brady (R–Texas).
These “debate” managers invited more that 70 representatives to make short campaign statements for the Congressional Record. Most of these statements followed a few themes, using very similar language. After excerpts from the opening statements by the debate leaders, we provide examples of the common issues addressed in support of the USMCA, as well as a few unique issues raised by opponents. And, of course, we include our comments.
From the Congressional Record House (12-19-19) [Emphasis added.] :
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), House Majority Leader: “This USMCA agreement before us is a vast improvement over the first version shown to us by President Trump and his team. We worked together, and it now includes critically important changes offered by Democratic members in order to ensure that its enforcement mechanisms are stronger, that it protects American workers, and that it will help lower prescription drug costs and improve access to medications…. I am glad that our House Democratic working group was able to secure new provisions to ensure that America’s trading partners uphold the rights of workers to unionize and bargain collectively. And I am glad that this agreement includes strong, rapid-response enforcement mechanisms that will allow us to block imports produced in facilities where these commitments are violated…. This agreement, Madam Speaker, is truly the product of bipartisanship with many victories for Democrats, of which all Americans can be proud, and obviously, victories for Republicans, as well.
Freedom First Society: 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.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Leader: “We understood months ago that the United States-Mexico-Canada agreement would deliver a much-deserved win for the American worker. Today is for them.”
Freedom First Society: No, the agreement was developed to serve the Internationalists who are striving for unaccountable power to rule the world.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Chairman House Ways and Means Committee: “When we assumed the majority this year, we were asked to consider a renegotiated NAFTA that had structural flaws in a key number of areas: enforcement, labor rights, environment, and access to medicines…. During these past 25 years, we have seen the shortcomings of the original agreement, much of which comes down to a lack of enforcement, in my view. House Democrats, working with Ambassador Lighthizer, fixed many of those issues. The improvements to the USMCA that we negotiated finally make the agreement enforceable by preventing a country from being able to block the formation of a dispute settlement panel….
“On the rules, we strengthened certain provisions and addressed obstacles to enforcement in many others. On monitoring, for the first time we have created a proactive monitoring regime for labor obligations in a trade agreement. The implementing bill establishes an Interagency Labor Committee that will actively monitor Mexico’s compliance, and report back to Congress.
“On enforcement, we negotiated a historic mechanism never included in a trade agreement before. As a result of Democratic efforts, we will now have a facility-specific, rapid-response mechanism to address violations of key labor obligations.
“We have made great improvements to environmental provisions. The USMCA will now include the highest environmental standards of any trade agreement in history and will include a new customs verification agreement to enhance enforcement.
“The implementing bill, and I hope our colleagues in this Chamber will hear this, also secures more than $600 million in funding for environmental problems in the NAFTA region and reauthorizes the North American Development Bank….
“These changes set a new standard for U.S. trade agreements, and demonstrate that trade agreements can achieve broad, bipartisan support if they empower workers, protect patients, provide access to affordable healthcare, and improve our shared environment. I am proud of what we did here. After 14 months of negotiating on every conceivable front, we have improved the old NAFTA… I hope that today we can say at the end of the time limits that this was a successful negotiation of the largest trade agreement in American history, a hemispheric agreement that I think we can stand in support of with great pride today.”
Rep. Kevin Brady (R–Texas), Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee: “Today is a momentous day. We will finally consider the implementing bill that brings the trade relationship between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico into the 21st century. This trade agreement is sorely needed. It has been over 25 years since we first established this trade relationship through NAFTA. So much has changed since then…. [W]e now have a trade agreement that will deliver historic wins for the economy, and that is because this trade agreement is all about growth. USMCA will set the stage for billions more in economic activity….
“It improves the competitive position of our manufacturers, our service companies, and our small businesses. It ends the race to the bottom created by what had been Mexico’s poor labor laws. The agreement, best of all, is enforceable, allowing us to challenge violations and to stop countries from blocking these challenges, holding Mexico and Canada accountable for these new rules….
“Independent experts predict this new agreement will spur over $68 billion in new economic activity. We are always looking to create more U.S. jobs, and this will create more than 176,000 jobs here in America, including 76,000 in our auto sector. That is good news for everyone. Best of all for the American people, USMCA is a truly bipartisan agreement….
“We are so glad to see so many Republican priorities were retained. In the agreement before us today, we have labor and environmental rules that are realistic, they are measurable, they are enforceable. What is not in this agreement are provisions for which there is no consensus, like the Paris climate accord.”
Freedom First Society: We will refute many of Rep. Brady’s claims for the USMCA under the topics to follow.
Heavily Regulated Trade, Not Free Trade
The so-called House and Senate debates (campaigning masquerading as debates) focused heavily on the alleged trade benefits from the massive 2,082-page agreement. But trade was the bait. Similar claims enticed the nations of Europe into the Common Market, a steppingstone to the European Union. At the time, proponents of the Common Market repeatedly insisted that there would be no delegation of sovereignty. Here are comments from several of those who championed the bait:
Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska): “Representing an agriculture powerhouse district, the Third District of Nebraska, where our farmers and ranchers work very diligently and very efficiently to help feed America and the world, we need good markets for them. Trade relationships in North America are so important, and we have this opportunity to modernize NAFTA, heading us in the direction of even more markets and really reflecting the needs of our economy and the economy across North America.”
Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisconsin):“I am happy that dairy farmers in America are going to have greater access to the Canadian market. We made progress on poultry and eggs. We also tightened up the sanitary and phytosanitary standards so that those decisions have to be made on sound science rather than arbitrary decisions to block our agricultural exports. We have, perhaps, the strongest worker protection chapter ever in the trade agreement, enhanced environmental standards, all to level the playing field for our workers, our farmers, our businesses so they can fairly compete rather than trying to compete in a race to the bottom. Perhaps most importantly, we have the strongest enforcement chapter ever, and we look forward to working with Mexico and Canada to implement it the right way to make sure we are all playing by the same rules.”
Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Indiana): “Madam Speaker, I am indeed happy, and I am thrilled today to actually be here and cast my vote for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or the USMCA. I can’t tell you enough of what it will do for our districts in northern Indiana. The hardworking Hoosiers in Indiana’s Second District are builders and growers. We manufacture most of the RVs you see on the road and a large portion of boats and trailers that you see on many lakes. We manufacture auto parts and musical instruments. Our farmers put food on the table, including corn, soybeans, pork, duck, eggs, and dairy products. Mexico and Canada are key export markets for all of them and the workers they employ….
“USMCA dismantles trade barriers that stood in the way of American exports for so long. For farmers in my district, this means more dairy, more poultry, and more eggs are heading to Canada. For manufacturers, this means fewer paperwork headaches that slow down shipments and prevent them altogether. For businesses of all sizes, types, and shapes, this means e-commerce standards that promote fair competition and that will be used as a standard in future agreements. For workers, this means more jobs staying in the United States. Robust enforcement ensures that the potential of the USMCA does not evaporate overnight.”
Rep. Kenny Marchant (R-Texas): “Madam Speaker, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement is a revolutionary trade deal that will usher in a new era of economic prosperity and growth for Americans across the country. Texas, in particular, stands ready to thrive under this agreement. Our State exports more to Mexico than any other and is second in exports to Canada. Each year, over $135 billion worth of Texan goods are sent to our two closest trading partners, supporting over 114,000 jobs in Texas. The reforms in the USMCA will ensure that we continue to have free and fair access to international marketplaces, keeping prices low for Americans and business booming for business and workers.”
Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kansas):“However, today we are taking a giant step forward in finally making that free and fair trade deal a reality. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will create 176,000 new jobs in our country and will boost the national GDP by $68 billion. It is important for farmers and ranchers in my State. The USMCA opens up new markets for American dairy, wheat, chicken, eggs, and turkey for the first time. This deal also helps U.S. manufacturing jobs and increases wages. NAFTA was created 25 years ago, and the USMCA will now be the first trade agreement with a chapter dedicated to digital trade and sets new standards for labor and the environment….
“As a strong advocate for free and fair trade, I proudly support the USMCA and look forward to working with the Senate to send this to the President’s desk as soon as possible.”
Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Illinois): “I rise today in support of the USMCA. And let’s call this what it is: It is a win for America. It is a win for our farmers. It is a win for our manufacturers. It is a win for our workers….
”Also, to Bob Lighthizer. There is not a more capable trade ambassador that we have had than Bob Lighthizer. He has been relentless in his pursuit of getting this done. Lastly, President Trump, it wouldn’t have happened without him and what he did working with the Canadians and the Mexicans to get this trade agreement done. This free and fair trade agreement benefits all of us, all sectors of our economy. Moreover, it will further support the record-breaking economic growth that this country has seen. We, arguably, have the best economy we have had in 40 years, and this will help that.”
Freedom First Society: 1) The inclusion of “free trade” in the name of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was a calculated deception. NAFTA and its successor the USMCA are not about implementing free trade, but establishing regional bureaucracies (for example, NAFTA established a Secretariat and a Trilateral Trade Commission). The same free trade language deception was used in Europe to establish the Common Market (a steppingstone to the EU). Real free trade is a voluntary exchange between two parties. Of course, we are not suggesting that Congress doesn’t have a legitimate role in regulating trade, including protecting the consumer against contaminated food products. 2) ”The best economy we have had in 40 years”? Give us a break. What planet does Rep. LaHood live on? Look at the record homelessness. Middle class opportunity has not recovered – see below.
Rep. J. French Hill (R-Arkansas): “As a member of the USMCA Republican House Whip Team, I was proud to advocate on behalf of this much-needed update to NAFTA. Twenty-seven years ago, I worked for President Bush 41 and worked on supporting his goal of North America becoming the world’s premier economic market. How pleased he would be to be here today and see this bipartisan support to update the North American trade market for a new generation. Impressive, indeed. We will take converts to free trade every day, even if some of them are overnight converts.”
Freedom First Society: President H.W. Bush had been a director of the world-government promoting Council on Foreign Relations. There is no doubt that he was pursuing Internationalist goals, and true free trade was certainly not among them.
Exporting Leftist Intervention
The Democratic side of the “debates” also focused on improved enforcement of the agreement, without discussing the delegation of enforcing authority. And they touted provisions forcing Mexico to adopt some of the same high-cost labor policies that the U.S. has adopted, as well as the Left’s climate-change agenda for regulating everything. See, for example, House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal’s boasting above regarding how the USMCA provides the mechanism to enforce subversive policies far afield from trade.
Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-Oregon), member of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Trade Working Group:“The renegotiated USMCA strengthens labor rules so that it will be easier to prove violations. It includes robust monitoring systems and strong enforcement tools, including people on the ground in Mexico to monitor compliance….
“This final agreement also makes important advancements to protect our environment. It improves environmental rules, puts them in the text of the agreement, provides a path to reducing hydrofluorocarbon emissions, protects against overfishing, makes it easier to prove environmental violations, and secures more than $600 million to implement the environmental provisions and address pollution and marine debris. Throughout the negotiation process, I fought hard for the inclusion of strong climate provisions. I am disappointed that the Trump administration rejected our efforts. We did, however, include a clause that creates a path for adding additional environmental and conservation agreements in the future. I will continue to do all I can to pass and implement bold policies to combat climate change.”
And consider this observation by the New York Times (1-29-19):
For the first time, the new agreement also mandates that 40% to 45% of the parts for any tariff-free vehicle must come from a so-called high-wage factory. Those factories must pay a minimum of $16 an hour in average salaries for production workers. That’s about triple the average wage in a Mexican factory right now, and administration officials hope the provision will either force automakers to buy more supplies from Canada or the United States — or cause wages in Mexico to rise.
But sound economists have long pointed out that unions or government can only force wages to rise by restricting access to the labor market to a privileged group. Government edicts cannot create general prosperity. A rise in general prosperity requires capital investment.
Rep. Brian Higgins (D-New York): “Madam Speaker, the economic future of Buffalo and western New York is tied strategically to southern Ontario, which is one-third of the entire population of the country of Canada. I am pleased that this agreement strengthens the U.S.-Canadian economic and life quality relations. I am concerned, however, that the U.S.-Mexican economic relationship is more challenging. The United States has lost 6 million manufacturing jobs in the past 20 years, and 53,000 manufacturing businesses have closed. NAFTA’s promise of wage convergence, bringing Mexican wages to Canadian and U.S. standards, has failed. The Mexican wage is $5.10 a day, less than $0.64 an hour. We have good reason to be skeptical of Mexico’s commitment to do better. The USMCA, however, because of Chairman Richard Neal’s leadership and emphasis on rigorous enforcement, does have the potential for improved Mexican compliance on wages, the environment, and labor standards.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee:“We are voting today on an agreement that has fundamentally been rewritten and strengthened. A personal priority for me was stripping unnecessary and harmful special provisions for Big Pharma. We have strengthened labor protections and enforcement. These are game changers. The help of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and, again, the Speaker were invaluable. We have had environmental improvements. My colleague from Oregon, Suzanne Bonamici, deserves great praise for being tenacious on that. We will attack the raw sewage many of us saw flowing into the Pacific in Tijuana.”
Freedom First Society: But sewage, while not friendly to beaches, is biodegradable. It’s hardly worthy of a hemispheric agreement and the attention of the U.S. Congress. Blumenauer sees a problem in Big Pharma but not in Big Labor.
Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas):“What we have today is an initial step, an important step, toward achieving a truly 21st century trade agreement that not only encourages trade but protects the environment and recognizes the legitimate concerns of workers. This victory results from major changes in what President Trump proposed 14 months ago. First, we secured additional funding for the North American Development Bank, the NAD Bank, based in San Antonio, which is important in addressing especially environmental concerns. Second, and very significantly, we deleted the horrible Big Pharma power grab to extend its monopoly power for prescription price gouging. Third, each country was forced to take all necessary measures to comply with multilateral environmental agreements which take precedence over trade. This includes an additional recent agreement to dramatically reduce heat-trapping chemicals. In 2021, when we have a new president who actually believes in science, the agreement will facilitate, not impede, our response to the climate crisis. And, finally, instead of platitudes, we have an enforceable agreement to address worker concerns.”
Freedom First Society: Rep. Doggett tries to perpetuate the myth that scientists all agree that we face a crisis due to man-made climate change. See, for example, our posts “Repeat a Lie Often Enough …” and “UN-Climate Change Hysteria.”
Rep. John B. Larson (D-Conn.): “I also want to associate myself with the remarks of the chairman [Richard Neal] for his incredible leadership. In his opening remarks, he underscored the key word that is central to this agreement that is far different from the previous NAFTA agreement. It is “enforcement.” It was his tenacity and the tenacity of the working group and the subcommittee that made this happen. I commend Speaker Pelosi for her work and, clearly, for all the working members of the task force for the effort they put forward.”
Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-New Jersey): “I also thank Mr. Lighthizer. He is a different kind of guy, and I really believe that he was essential to getting to this vote today….
“So there are some questions that do remain. The ship of human rights has not been righted. The President never once mentioned in any speech, during 2016 until now, about human rights and about workers’ rights in discussing NAFTA. Mexican workers are still being treated like chattel, American jobs will still flow through other countries, and sham protection unions will still own the day. This bill has made many improvements, but it is not enough. Some can say: Is there ever enough? There are too many questions. Will Mexico be held accountable to fully enforce their labor laws? We don’t know.”
Freedom First Society: Throughout the debates, we see Democrats insisting that the USMCA do much more than promote trade, in particular they argue that they should be able, through the USMCA and the U.S. government, to pressure Mexico to “reform.” In reality, the policies of U.S. Internationalist and Leftists over the last century have contributed greatly to the turmoil and socialism in Mexico, and Central and South America.
Rep. Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.): ”When this administration first presented USMCA to Congress, I have to say, it was unacceptable. However, thanks to Speaker Pelosi, Chairman Neal, the Trade Working Group and, you bet, Ambassador Lighthizer, we were able to come up with one of the strongest, most progressive deals in the United States’ history. The USMCA now has some of the most stringent labor standards, some of the most robust funding for enforceability, and some of the strongest requirements for the environment ever.”
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas): “Madam Speaker, I support the USMCA, NAFTA 2.1, because we are doing this in a bipartisan way….
”My district is the epicenter of trade between the U.S. and Mexico. My city of Laredo handles 14,000 to 16,000 trailers every single day. The Laredo customs district handles 60 percent of all the trade between the U.S. and Mexico. That means more than $1.7 billion of goods flow between the U.S. and Mexico every day. That is over $1 million every single minute. Trade is good. It means jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Freedom First Society: Trade is good not because it creates jobs, but because it takes advantage of different economic efficiencies. In a free-market economy, jobs aren’t scarce — labor is. Capitalists have to bid wage-rates up to attract the labor they want. But in a government-managed economy, like the U.S. has become, government regulations ensure that there is unemployment, because entrepreneurs aren’t allowed to hire willing workers below the mandated minimum wage.
Job scarcity is a product of government regulation of the economy. Ever since the Insider-caused Great Depression, we have become used to a shortage of jobs and the need to reduce unemployment. But this is a horrible government-caused inversion of nature. In a free market economy labor, not jobs, is in short supply. The value of labor increases as a nation’s capital grows and its capitalists compete for available labor. But we also need to ask, what kind of jobs will be created. It still takes capital to create productive workers who can enjoy rising prosperity.
Rep. Tom Rice (R-South Carolina), member of the Ways and Means Committee: “Madam Speaker, this is a great day for American workers. The nameplate on my desk says, ‘Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,’’ and that is exactly what this new trade agreement will bring….
“Ross Perot was right all those years ago when he said the old NAFTA would bring a giant sucking sound of American jobs going to Mexico, and that is precisely what happened in my district. Unfair trade agreements are one of the primary reasons that the American middle class has stagnated for decades — until the election of Donald Trump.
“The new USMCA corrects much of this imbalance: It will prevent the departure of many more Americans jobs; It will bring hundreds of thousands of new jobs to America; It will raise the wages of workers throughout North America; and It will accelerate the growth of our American economy. I am thankful for the talent and effort of Ambassador Lighthizer in successfully reaching this incredibly complicated trilateral agreement. I am also thankful that we finally have a President with the backbone and determination to do what is necessary to bring our trading partners to the table, many of whom have taken advantage of us for far too long, and despite the criticism of many here in our own country.
Freedom First Society: So by taking advantage of us, Mexico’s economy must have been booming? The reality is that most of our vanishing heavy industry and manufacturing has gone to China, with the help of American Insiders. And now, we are told, we need the power of the North American trading bloc, realized through the USMCA, to compete with China.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana), House Minority (Republican) Whip: “[P]assing the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement is going to be a major victory for American workers, yet another sign that we can improve on our current trade relationships…. What you see is not only a trade agreement that is a major win for the American economy — conservative estimates show over 160,000 new jobs get created. Agriculture gets a big win because many of our products that we can’t sell to Canada now will be able to be sent to those markets….
“We have the hottest economy in the world, and it is only going to get better for workers here. But it then sends a message to China that not just America wants to send, but a message that all of our allies around the world want to send, that when you do business with America, you have to follow the rules. You can’t play by your own set of rules. And now, for enforcement of deals, it really shows that China is going to have to become part of the world economy and play by the rules that everyone else in the world plays by.”
Freedom First Society: Here Rep. Scalise admits the Internationalist game plan: Force the whole world to obey the rules the Internationalists create. What he does not identify here are the unelected bodies that will enforce the rules and whose agenda the rules serve.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Penn.): “It is really good to see Members on both sides of the aisle stand up and say: You know, we are really getting things done for America. I would like to say that this is a Christmas gift that is wrapped up in paper that is red, white, and blue. It is a jobs bill: 176,000 jobs, $68 billion in new revenue….
“This is a tremendous jobs bill for America. This is a tremendous accomplishment. I can’t imagine anybody not voting for this.”
Rescuing the Middle Class
Rep. Haley Stevens (D-Michigan): “Madam Speaker, today, we rise to pass a trade deal for the middle class. Today, we rise to strengthen the protections for the workers. Today is a great day, for today, we are standing up for our manufacturers and our manufacturing economy….
“We say hoorah for the middle class, for the growth and the expansion for our middle class.”
Rep. Tom Rice (R-South Carolina): “Unfair trade agreements are one of the primary reasons that the American middle class has stagnated for decades — until the election of Donald Trump. “
Freedom First Society: Both Representatives and Stevens and Rice need to read, understand, and take to heart our booklet The Marxist Attack on the Middle Class. The middle class, so important to preserving our freedom, has been under attack for decades. The middle class won’t be rescued without an understanding of the forces seeking its demise.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.): “Madam Speaker, I was honored to be appointed to the Speaker’s working group charged with renegotiating the deeply flawed NAFTA agreement that the President signed in 2018….
“Our gains include a labor-specific enforcement for new labor standards, a review body to ensure Mexico is meeting its obligations, penalties for goods and services not produced in compliance, and robust resources for monitoring and enforcement….
“Despite our best efforts, it lacks more robust climate standards, labor and environmental terms, and protections for food and product safety. So, it is not the model for the future. Wage stagnation in America is not the inevitable result of globalization and technology. Special interests have shaped government policies that have held down wages and increased inequality. Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said: ‘Inequality is not inevitable. It is a choice we make.’”
Freedom First Society: 1) Here, Rep. DeLauro refers to unelected regional bodies – the real poison in the USMCA. 2) Socialists champion equality of results, taking advantage of human envy to deceive. The reality of their program is equality in poverty. Instead, we should champion equality of opportunity. 3) Nobel Prize winners in economics can be counted on to be advocates of government-managed economy, not free-market economy. And Joseph Stiglitz, former chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers, was no exception.
In the debates, we were frequently treated to the claim that bipartisanship is a virtue. But not the way the parties are organized today. Instead, when the wolves and the wolves in sheep’s clothing get together, America loses, not wins. We give here examples of the claims, some repeated from earlier:
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland), House Majority Leader: “This agreement, Madam Speaker, is truly the product of bipartisanship with many victories for Democrats, of which all Americans can be proud, and obviously, victories for Republicans, as well.”
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Chairman House Ways and Means Committee: “These changes set a new standard for U.S. trade agreements, and demonstrate that trade agreements can achieve broad, bipartisan support if they empower workers, protect patients, provide access to affordable healthcare, and improve our shared environment.”
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Speaker of the House: “I proudly rise to join my colleagues on this exciting day as the House passes a historic trade agreement that is truly worthy of the American people, a new and dramatically improved U.S.-Canada-Mexico trade agreement….
“However, I do want to point out some of the distance we have come from the President’s original product. The House Democratic Caucus is united in our values and our priority to making progress for America’s working families in everything we do, including this trade agreement. We all thank Trade Representative Lighthizer, Mr. Ambassador, for being an honest broker and straight shooter with us as we worked toward an agreement….
“We thank Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, a true warrior for workers, who helped secure an agreement that is light-years better than what the administration proposed 2 years ago. Democrats knew that hardworking Americans needed more from the USMCA than just some broken NAFTA with better language but no real enforcement….
“After months of Democrats working with the Trade Representative, we have key changes to the USMCA that make this a truly transformative agreement for America’s workers. Now, with Democratic changes, the USMCA has the strongest enforcement mechanism of any U.S. trade agreement….
“For workers, while the administration drafts stack the deck against labor violation claims, our changes enact new rules and monitoring tools to protect American workers, prosecute labor violations, and ensure that Mexico is complying with labor reforms. Other points that are for the workers include establishing labor attaches based in Mexico who will provide on-the-ground information about Mexico’s labor practices and creating a facility-specific rapid response law enforcement mechanism to stop trade in goods that violate this agreement. These are not technical changes. These make a big difference.
“For the environment, whereas the administration’s draft had weak environmental rules and tilted the playing field against violation claims, democrats have strengthened the rules and enforcement tools and are lowering pollution and increasing resilient infrastructure. Sadly, while the administration refuses to acknowledge the existence, let alone the urgency, of the climate crisis, our changes in the USMCA set a firm footing for progress when we have a President who brings us back to the Paris accord….
“The changes House Democrats have secured in the USMCA make this a truly transformational trade agreement. As the AFL-CIO wrote in their letter of support last week, we have secured an agreement that working people can proudly support. Working people are responsible for a deal that is a vast improvement over the original NAFTA and the flawed proposal brought forward in 2017. For the first time, there truly will be enforceable labor standards….
“The USMCA is far from perfect, but there is no denying that the trade rules in America are fairer because of the hard work of so many people, and our perseverance. Working people have created a new standard for future trade negotiations….
“With all the respect in the world for our neighbors, our respect for the greatness of Mexico as our neighbor, and the friendship that we have and want to engender, and our neighbor to the north, Canada, with respect to them, our responsibility is to have a trade agreement that lifts all workers in our hemisphere. Our first responsibility is to American workers.”
Freedom First Society: 1) Throughout the “debates,” Democrats pay respect to U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer, a member of the Establishment’s powerful Council on Foreign Relations, even though President Trump selected Lighthizer to negotiate the agreement. 2) “Working people are responsible for a deal….” What a subterfuge. The USMCA is not a product of working people but of power hungry Internationalists. Notice also the use of Supranational government bodies to enforce a radical agenda on the entire hemisphere.
Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-Ohio): “With this bipartisan vote, and with the hard work from both sides of the aisle, we finally have the opportunity to rebalance North American trade. In spite of delays, this opportunity that exists for all Americans is finally here today. It has been 25 years since our North American Trade Agreement was established, and it has not been updated to reflect the modern economy. Under this new trade agreement, our farmers, manufacturers, and workers will finally have a deal that modernizes North American trade, boosts our economy, and strengthens our Nation’s role in the global trading market.”
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.): “Updated dispute mechanisms will ensure the United States has prompt access to a dispute settlement panel, when needed, to allow U.S. businesses to compete on a level playing field. This is a great bipartisan agreement that will bring huge benefits to millions of Americans, and I urge my colleagues to support USMCA.”
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-Penn.): “USMCA will bring more than $68 billion in new economic activity, 176,000 new jobs here at home, and an increase of $2 billion a year annually in agricultural exports. These numbers don’t lie, and that is only the beginning. Passing USMCA is a big win for the American economy….
“Madam Speaker, USMCA is a good agreement. It is a fair agreement, and it is a bipartisan agreement.”
Competition with China
Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas): “We should care about the USMCA because just about every aspect of our lives, the food on our table, the clothes on our backs, the fuel in our cars, depends on free trade with Mexico and Canada….
“We should care about USMCA because we live in a world where U.S. military and economic dominance is no longer guaranteed, and a strong North America is essential for us to remain competitive as China tries to replace America as the most important economy in the world.
Freedom First Society: But let’s be clear that the rise of China as both a military and economic challenge is due to American Insiders, such as Henry Kissigner, and to politicians of both parties implementing the Internationalist agenda. Insiders in the Truman administration betrayed our ally Nationalist China and ensured that Communist Mao Tse Tung would take over China, exterminating millions. The story of the immense Internationalist betrayal goes on and on (e.g., putting Red China on the UN Security Council). And what have the Internationalist accomplished? They have ensured there is conflict in the world to “manage” — as ostensible justification for giving more authority to their international organizations.
Rep. Fred Keller (R-Penn.): “The provisions in this deal eliminating Canada’s class 7 milk pricing program, increasing corn and soybean exports, and many other improvements will make a huge difference for those family farms. More important is the leverage that gives the United States when negotiating additional trade deals. It is no surprise that when Speaker Pelosi agreed to the USMCA, China agreed to the Phase One trade deal that President Trump had been negotiating for the benefit of our country. Again, USMCA is long overdue, but I am glad we are finally here to be able to support America in this trade deal.”
Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minnesota): “Not only will this deal expand trade with Mexico and Canada, but it is going to help us build momentum for deals with other nations, like China, Vietnam, and so forth. It is going to be great for our country….
“It will open new markets, expand economic opportunity and create new high-wage jobs, build momentum for trade deals with China and other nations, and help protect and promote our rural way of life in southern Minnesota. We are already seeing evidence of this momentum with the United States and China announcing a ‘Phase One’ trade agreement just days after the bipartisan agreement on USMCA was reached.”
Violence in Mexico
Rep. Vicente Gonzales (D-Texas): “Madam Speaker, I rise today to express my support for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement and also to sound the alarm of an issue that should concern us all: violence.
“To put things in perspective, since 2006, Mexico has lost as many people to homicide as the United States has lost in every war since Korea. Just in the last 3 years, the number of homicides exceeded the number of soldiers lost in Korea and Vietnam combined, all while we act as if nothing is happening in our own backyard.
“Negotiators worked tirelessly to get us here to today’s vote, but they failed to acknowledge the single greatest threat to North American trade and prosperity: violence. I rise today to say that we have missed an opportunity, and I cannot be silent and will not let this go. Mexican President Lopez Obrador ran on a promise to achieve peace, end the war on drugs, and create a new civilian national guard to tackle organized crime by fighting poverty. While I have no doubt of his good intentions, he has failed miserably.”
Rep. Marci Kaptur (R-Ohio): “I rise in opposition to NAFTA 2, which has been rebranded the USMCA. First of all, it is being rushed through at the last moments of this session without the majority of Members even able to read it or participate in hearings on it. Number two, it will not stem the continental outsourcing of U.S. jobs, and, sadly, and most importantly, it will not achieve the real enforcement by the Governments of Mexico or the United States.
“For over 10 years, I have been trying to get the Government of Mexico to arrest and prosecute the brutal murderers of Santiago Cruz, a Mexican national fighting against the huge continental labor trafficking of his countrymen. He was educating his fellow farmworkers that they did not have to pay a bounty of $8,000 to come to this country to work in our fields as they became indentured workers.
“Despite my over 10 years of efforts to bring justice to his brutal killers, Mexico behaves as if this crime never occurred. Why should I believe Mexico will enforce anything? Furthermore, about a month ago, we saw the President of Mexico not able to keep control of his own streets, and he released the son of El Chapo, the drug lord. What makes you think this administration or the one in Mexico will do anything to enforce the laws that USMCA purports to support? I urge all of my colleagues to vote ‘no.'”
Closing the House “Debates”
Rep. Kevin Brady (R–Texas), Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee: “I want to thank Ambassador Robert Lighthizer for being the architect of this trade agreement. I will tell you, Mr. Speaker, I was a skeptic when he said that we can rebuild bipartisan trade and we can fulfill many of the Democrats’ labor and environmental wishes that no other President had ever delivered. So he proved me wrong. Working closely with Chairman Neal and others, he, in the original trade agreement of the USMCA a year ago, produced the most pro-labor and pro-environmental trade agreement in American history. In the last few months he has worked closely with Democrats to fine-tune that agreement so that these issues are enforceable. Republicans support that enforcement….
“During my time on the Ways and Means Committee, I have been proud to help lead the passage of 12 of the trade agreements America has in place today and two updates of the Trade Promotion Authority that lays out the trade rules for the White House and Congress to follow. So for me this is number 13.
“I believe in the freedom to trade, and I truly believe it is the greatest economic freedom we possess. It lays at the heart of our free enterprise system. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: ‘Commerce with other nations is not only necessary and beneficial to all parties, it is a right and a duty.’ It is the freedom to buy, sell, and compete anywhere in the world with as little government interference as possible. It is a freedom that if we build a better mousetrap, then we can sell it anywhere in the world; and when someone else builds a better mousetrap, then we have the freedom to buy it for our family and for our business. That economic freedom has lifted millions out of poverty and provided opportunity, prosperity, and peace, not just for ourselves but for the world. That is why it was so disappointing the Democrats held up moving forward on this agreement for so long because every day of delay helped China, helped Europe, and helped other countries. This was long overdue. But the truth of the matter is, we are here today and we have pulled together in a historic vote.”
Freedom First Society: It is mind boggling that Rep. Brady has the audacity to imply that recent trade agreements, including the USMCA, promote trade “with as little government interference as possible.” He also contradicts himself by suggesting the delay with the USMCA “helped other countries.” Free trade is supposed to be a win-win exchange.
Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), Chairman House Ways and Means Committee: “This really is a bipartisan agreement, and I hope and expect that the challenges to USMCA will allow H.R. 5430 to enjoy broad, bipartisan support. I certainly am urging support for this because of the following: it bolsters workers’ rights; it corrects earlier Trump administration backsliding on environmental obligations to get us to this trade agreement; it eliminated many big giveaways to companies that would have locked in high medicine prices, and it preserves Congress’ freedom to legislate to bring those prices down; and it incorporates the strongest enforcement mechanisms, including specifically enhanced mechanisms for enforcing labor rights in any U.S. trade agreement.
“There are three titles that are devoted to the United States Government and our role: monitoring and enforcement of USMCA partners’ obligations, monitoring and enforcement of USMCA partners’ environmental obligations, and more than $843 million over 4 years that will be dedicated to monitoring and enforcement of labor and environmental obligations, including funds for education and training of workers and inspectors.
“We would not have gotten here today, however, without the important considerations of organized labor and the honorable men and women of the AFL/CIO and the Teamsters.
Freedom First Society: When they wrote our Constitution, America’s Founding Fathers incorporated the lessons of history regarding the necessity to limit government. Their wisdom in limiting government helped make America great. America’s strength comes from a free people, not from a bloated government bureaucracy. Thomas Jefferson said it most clearly: “Were we directed from Washington when to sow and when to reap, we should soon want bread.”
Clearly, Rep. Neal does not support that essential principle.
For Senate perspectives, please see our analysis of the Senate vote on H.R. 5430.