Senate Republicans are attempting to pass the stalled U.S. trade deal with Mexico and Canada this week before President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial begins.
Several GOP senators said they were being told there is a push on by Republican leadership to take the vote this week. Senator Rob Portman, a Republican from Ohio, said there is a chance that the Senate could vote on the USMCA deal as soon as Thursday.
Several Senate committees have advanced the bill to implement the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement that the House passed last month. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell initially said he wouldn’t take up the USMCA until after the impeachment trial, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s delay in sending the articles of impeachment to the Senate created an opening to accelerate the vote on the trade deal.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee changed its hearing from Thursday to Wednesday to act more quickly on the trade agreement, and the Senate Appropriations Committee plans to act on the same day.
The House is expected to send the impeachment articles over on Wednesday, but the Senate trial, which must be prioritized over other Senate business, will likely start next week.
Senator Martha McSally, who faces a tough campaign in Arizona this year, said she hopes the Senate can vote on the deal as soon as possible.
The trade deal is one of Trump’s top priorities and it won backing from Democrats and most Republicans after negotiations on enforcement provisions.
By Steven T. Dennis, Erik Wasson and Jenny Leonard.