Pelosi Advances USMCA Bill With Impeachment Pointed At Trump's Head
Republicans have claimed all year that the Democratic-controlled House is so obsessed with harassing Donald Trump it won't focus on the "important business of the American people." Democrats aren't funding the troops or helping keep America great. They're getting their Columbo on against the president. The GOP likes to mention a specific piece of legislation that Democrats have neglected: USMCA, Trump's warmed-up, week-old Thanksgiving leftovers of NAFTA.
Yeah, Nancy Pelosi, where is USMCA? Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst wonders when you'll "stop the shenanigans" and get this bill passed. Americans don't want to see politicians squabbling in Washington and holding impeachment trials against a criminal president. They want to see their elected officials passing bipartisan legislation that makes no one happy. Well, Speaker Pelosi has listened to their earnest pleas and plans to announce a deal to advance USMCA this morning. This is happening just a couple hours after House Democrats are expected to drop two articles of impeachment -- abuse of power and obstruction of Congress -- on the president's fuzzy head. During her press conference today, Pelosi rubbed Trump's face in it some more.
PELOSI: There is no question, of course, that this trade agreement is much better than NAFTA. But in terms of our work here, it is infinitely better than what was initially proposed by the administration.
Pelosi's actions don't make sense to kibitzers on Twitter, who always seem to know better than the lady of the House. They think it's "insane" to give Trump a much-desired legislative victory while they're simultaneously impeaching him for his overall no-goodnikness. A horrified Adam Serwer from The Atlantic claimed that Democrats are practically working for Trump's re-election campaign. Cooperating with the president in any way just sends "the message to the electorate that impeachment is just meaningless partisan theater." That's a little too much Sturm und Drang for our tastes. Democrats aren't common Mitch McConnells. They're not going to screw the country just to make the president from an opposing party look bad.
Trump: "USCMA, Pelosi Nuts" www.youtube.com
Advancing USMCA arguably makes Democrats and their impeachment drive look less partisan. It also weakens a popular Republican talking point. Yes, Trump will crow, but Democrats in vulnerable House districts can also boast of having achieved something other than inspecting the president's dirty laundry for a year.
There's an obvious tactical benefit from negotiating with a desperate, weakened president. "Buy when they're friendless" is an old stockbroker's adage but a similar calculation applies to political maneuvering. Members of the GOP Senate leadership expressed concern Monday that Trump might've made "problematic concessions" to reach a deal with Democrats. They have reason to worry because despite paying someone to write The Art of the Deal, Trump would personally trade his toilet for another roll of toilet paper. Jared Kushner is even involved and he hasn't handled anything with measurable success since his wedding night.
Texas Sen. John Cornyn fears USMCA has become a leftist quagmire because organized labor -- you know, actual workers -- might approve of it.
CORNYN: I just hope [Trump] hasn't gone too far in Speaker Pelosi's direction, and the AFL-CIO's direction that he might lose some support here. My concern is that what the administration presented has now been moved demonstrably to Democrats, the direction that they wanted.
See, Pelosi has fed Trump her stilettos for lunch. She indicated last week that she was going to remove legal protections for tech giants in the bill. Democrats are overall "optimistic" and "delighted" about the deal, and Republicans are not. This is what you want to see around the holidays. Democrats could vote on USMCA as early as next week. Republicans could still tank NAFTA's revenge in the Senate after whining about it for months. They don't shy away from hypocrisy and gaslighting. But it's harder to blame Democrats for the bill's failure when Trump signed off on it during his plea bargain.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle.