Congress faces a lengthy to-do list in the new year, as an already divided Washington heats up amid a potential Senate impeachment trial and the upcoming presidential primary races.
House Democrats went into the holiday break touting a long list of legislative achievements they passed in their first year as majority, while Republicans complained the toxic impeachment fight halted important legislation.
What’s clear is that much work still remains. Once back in Washington, the top policy issue for Republicans is finalizing the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) in the Senate. After House Democrats spent months securing greater enforcement of labor standards in Mexico and earning the support of the influential AFL-CIO union federation, the new pact passed the House 385-41 in December — a day after Democrats impeached Trump.
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The first hearing in the Senate is expected on Jan. 7.
Republicans accused Speaker Nancy Pelosi of dragging her feet for a year on the NAFTA replacement.
“It should have been passed months ago and it’s had a toll on our economy,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, R-La. “It sat on a shelf in the House because Pelosi was fixated with impeachment. So those jobs didn’t get created.”
President Trump initially announced the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada on Nov. 30, 2018, but it has yet to be ratified because of the prolonged negotiations with Congress…
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