‘House approves Trump’s flagship US-Mexico-Сanada trade deal, day after impeachment vote’, 19 Dec, 2019, RT.com
“The US House of Representatives has given the green light to a trade deal between the US, Canada and Mexico that would replace NAFTA, known as the USMCA, passing the bill on to the Senate for another vote.
The sweeping trade deal was passed in the House on Thursday 385-41 and is set for a Senate vote sometime after the new year. If signed into law, the deal would establish new rules for commerce between the three countries, supplanting the longstanding North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA.
Effectively an update to the prior three-way agreement, which came into force in 1994, the USMCA looks to slash tariffs, alter labor and intellectual property rules and cut down barriers to trade between the three neighbors, built with a 16-year sunset clause which sets an expiration date for the deal.” [snip]
“If President Trump “wants to take credit for [the deal], so be it,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), who has spearheaded the Democrat-led impeachment effort.
“This isn’t about him,” she said. “It’s about American workers.”
“After impeaching Trump and claiming he’s an “urgent threat” to America, Democrats refused to send the impeachment articles against him to the Senate for a trial and then passed a major trade deal he personally negotiated. Holy cognitive dissonance, Batman.” https://t.co/b0GZEk87PX
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) December 19, 2019
“It’s also a win for Democrats, who wanted to demonstrate they could pass legislation that benefits American workers while they pursued impeachment”
— POLITICO (@politico) December 19, 2019
‘One day after impeachment: Democrats back Trump trade, budget bills’, Patrick Martin, 20 December 2019, wsws.org
“The purpose of the measure is to tighten the coordination of economic and trade policy between the United States and its northern and southern neighbors, so as to constitute a stronger trade bloc directed against China in particular, as well as other capitalist rivals like Japan and the European Union.
In a further display of the collaboration of the Democrats with the Trump administration, the Senate took up and passed, by wide bipartisan margins, the two budget bills approved by the House on Tuesday. The vote on the first bill, appropriating $632 billion in domestic social spending, was 71-23. The vote on the second bill, appropriating $738 billion in military and national-security spending, was 81-11.
The military spending bill was opposed by a handful of liberal Democrats, adopting an antiwar posture that is thoroughly insincere, since there was no chance the bill would be defeated. The domestic spending bill was opposed mainly by Republicans opposed to maintaining even the abysmal current levels of support for healthcare, education, housing and other social programs. Four senators who are campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, did not attend the session and did not vote.
The passage of the trade and budget bills, by huge bipartisan majorities, confirms that on issues related to the basic class interests of the US financial aristocracy there is no difference between the two parties. Wall Street demanded passage of a full-year budget, rather than a series of continuing resolutions or a recurrence of last year’s partial federal shutdown, to avoid any shock to financial markets from the federal government failing to make debt payments on time.” [snip]
“As for the gargantuan military budget, the Senate passed the National Defense Authorization Act on Tuesday, while the House appropriated the funds the same day. Then the Senate rubber-stamped the appropriations bill Thursday with only token opposition. Both parties support the use of military force all over the world to defend the global interests of American imperialism.
The military appropriations bill, like the NDAA, allows $1.375 billion in spending on Trump’s border wall and removes any restriction on Trump’s illegal and unconstitutional shifting of Pentagon funds to border wall construction.
The differences that have led to impeachment revolve around one key area of foreign policy—confronting Russia in the Middle East, Ukraine and eastern Europe—where the military-intelligence apparatus, working through its front men (and women) in the Democratic Party, is opposing any shift from the hardline anti-Russia policy adopted during the second term of Barack Obama.
After the passage of the trade bill, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that there would be no more votes in the House until January 7, 2020. In effect, the Democratic leadership has postponed submission of the articles of impeachment to the Senate, and thus the Senate trial, for three weeks.
Under the Senate rules, impeachment must be taken up by the Senate within 24 hours after the articles of impeachment are submitted, and the Senate must conduct the trial six days a week until its conclusion.
By delaying the submission, Pelosi was allowing time for the Senate to take up and pass the USMCA, although it was not clear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would do so. There is significant opposition to the USMCA among Senate Republicans who claim Trump’s chief trade negotiators, Lighthizer and Treasury Security Steven Mnuchin, made too many concessions to win the support of the Democrats and the AFL-CIO union federation.”
For deeper digging, rom Nick Beams, Oct. 9, 2018: ‘Key provision of USMCA trade deal aimed at China’, wsws.org. Trust me: it ain’t about American Workers, it’s Trade as War.
(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)