The chances that Trump's effort to rename the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will fail to pass through Congress may have just increased substantially.
Other Republicans have said they want to approve the fake deal during the lame duck session of Congress -- a "deal" that makes almost no changes to the trade law -- but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell ruled that out during an appearance on Bloomberg this morning.
“My trade advisers say you can’t possibly do it under the various steps that we have to go through. I had not heard that it might be possible to address it this year,” McConnell said in an interview with Bloomberg News Tuesday in Washington. [...]
McConnell said he has not had conversations with the White House about passing the agreement this year. “There’s no question this will be on the top of the agenda" next year, he said.
This largely depends on Democrats successfully retaking control of the House of Representatives next month, but if they do they will have the power to ensure that changes to the law are properly analyzed and debated in public.
For example, some analysts have already said Trump's minimal changes to the law will harm the American auto industry, not help it, and could even lead to more imports. Content thresholds for automobiles manufactured in North America would increase by about 10 percent under the new law and that would force American automakers to either raise prices for domestically-manufactured cars or import more whole cars from other countries not subjected to the higher threshold.
Congress should not rubber-stamp this and, politically speaking, I think Democrats should make it clear that 95 percent of NAFTA will remain the same under Trump's fake deal. Moreover, they should make it clear that the small changes Trump wants to make may not be so good in the end.
If Trump's fake deal is never approved, NAFTA will remain as it is today. Trump has already taken his shot, so if he wanted to withdraw from NAFTA or negotiate another deal he would need new authorization from Congress. It's unlikely he'll get that if Democrats control either chamber of Congress next year.
Everyone needs to vote.