Rep. Huffman Votes Against Renegotiated Trade Agreement

December 19, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. House of Representatives voted on implementing legislation for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, H.R. 5430. Representative Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) voted against the bill and issued the following statement: 

“Democratic negotiators did a lot to improve Donald Trump’s weak trade deal, especially in terms of labor standards and enforcement, but the final deal did not reach the high standard that I had hoped for,” said Huffman.  “The NAFTA renegotiations were a once-in-a-generation opportunity to lift labor and environmental standards across the continent.  This is our last chance for the next several decades to use trade – arguably our most powerful lever – to lock in serious climate commitments with two of our largest trading partners and dramatically improve labor standards and enforcement to slow the rise of outsourcing.  Sadly, because the Trump administration denies climate change and is beholden to the fossil fuel industry, this agreement does not even mention climate change.  Because this agreement is unlikely to be renegotiated for decades, it is worse than a missed opportunity to confront the climate crisis; it’s a foreclosed opportunity.  I am also skeptical that the labor provisions, even with the improvements won by Democrats, are sufficient to protect American workers, raise standards for Mexican workers, and ensure a level playing field.  While I must oppose this agreement, I am grateful for the work of my dedicated colleagues who forced the Trump administration to make important concessions on labor provisions, pharmaceuticals, reform of the dispute resolution system, and improvements on some environmental issues.  I am hopeful that we can build stronger agreements in the future that better reflect our values and priorities, including taking multilateral action to confront the global climate crisis.”