Culpeper Star Exponent: Spanberger cheers breakthrough on big-three trade agreement

CULPEPER STAR EXPONENT, CLINT SCHEMMER

Joining a broad and bipartisan cross-section of America’s elected officials, U.S. Rep. Abigail Spanberger expressed her happiness Tuesday at word that the United States, Mexico, and Canada have struck a trade deal.

Spanberger, D-7th, has been a leading advocate for the United States-Canada-Mexico Agreement among her House freshman colleagues. She worked across the aisle to bring her constituents’ priorities to the forefront, meeting with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in March and with Vice President Mike Pence last week.

“#VA07 businesses & farms have waited patiently for this day, and I thank everyone involved for their persistence in reaching a final #USMCA deal,” the congresswoman tweeted on Tuesday. “Now, we need to receive implementing language from the White House & quickly move it to the floor for a vote. … I’m thrilled that our three countries have now reached a deal on the final text of the #USMCA.”

Next, the White House will draft implementing legislation and send it to the House of Representatives, which must vote on that wording.

Spanberger called for swift action as legislators and administration officials complete the final steps on the agreement.

Across Virginia, the agreement will expand export markets and bring greater long-term stability to farms, businesses and workers, she said.

The new trade deal would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, an agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico that eliminated most tariffs and trade barriers in North America. Canada and Mexico are the United States’ two largest trading partners.

As word broke that the three countries were nearing a deal, Spanberger reached out to thank House negotiators, the administration and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer for their work on behalf of American businesses and workers.

On Friday morning, six House members from the House’s bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus met privately with Vice President Pence at the White House to discuss a way forward on the trade deal being negotiated between the House, partner countries and President Donald Trump’s administration.

The lawmakers reinforced their support to help advance the trade deal by year’s end.

The bipartisan group was led by Reps. Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., and Tom Reed, R-Corning. The other four House members who met with Pence were Reps. Spanberger, D-Va.; Pete Stauber, R-Minn.; and Don Bacon, R-Neb.

“It will be the best and most important trade deal ever made by the USA. Good for everybody—Farmers, Manufacturers, Energy, Unions—tremendous support,” President Trump tweeted Tuesday. “Importantly, we will finally end our Country’s worst Trade Deal, NAFTA!”

The pact is Trump’s top Capitol Hill priority, along with funding for his long-sought border fence.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the agreement on Tuesday. She said the modified deal is a significant improvement over NAFTA, and credited Democratic negotiators for winning stronger provisions to enforce the agreement and uphold international labor standards.

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