The Trump administration will not send Congress legislation to implement the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement until House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the time is right, a top Trump administration official said today.
“[U.S. Trade Representative Robert] Lighthizer has said that we will submit formal legislation when she gives the green light on the vote,” chief White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in an interview at CNBC’s Capital Exchange event.
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Although Kudlow quoted Lighthizer, Lighthizer’s office has not responded to repeated questions in recent days about whether the Trump administration could send the implementing legislation to Congress this week, now that lawmakers have returned from the Fourth of July break.
The reason that question was being asked is because the administration sent its draft Statement of Administration Action for implementing the USMCA to Congress on May 30, and the 2015 trade promotion authority law requires that document be submitted to Congress at least 30 days before the administration sends the implementing legislation.
Once the administration sends the legislation, Congress is required to vote on the agreement with 90 days. However, the usual first step is to send a draft implementing bill to get input from Congress before a final bill is sent.
Kudlow praised Pelosi for her willingness to work with Lighthizer to address a number of concerns about the trade deal raised by Democrats, and said he remained optimistic she would schedule a vote.
“I think it will happen sometime this summer, hopefully,” Kudlow said. “It could stretch onto the autumn but I think it will be sooner than that.”
But, he added, “It’s up to her, not me.”