The bipartisan gathering was led by Ways and Means Committee ranking member, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX-08), and Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28). The lawmakers cited the importance of trade for Texas’ economy.
Rep. Brady emphasized, “No state will gain more from this agreement than Texas and no state has more to lose if it doesn’t pass.”
Citing the $1.7 billion of trade between the three countries daily, Rep. Cuellar added a “strong, prosperous, and secure” Mexico would be a boon to Texas and the U.S. overall.
Rep. Van Taylor (R-TX-03) remarked on the need for bipartisanship on the issue and stated, “It’s something that means a lot particularly to my district. I’ve got technology companies, manufacturing companies, corporate headquarters — all of which will benefit by the trade agreement that we are looking at in front of us.”
“This is a vast improvement from NAFTA. I’m excited to support it [and] I’m excited to stay on my Republican and Democrat colleagues from Texas to say let’s pass this deal now,” he concluded.
The USMCA has been largely ignored throughout the year by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, especially so since impeachment proceedings ramped up.
There remain obstacles in the U.S. Senate as well, specifically over the “big tech protection” provision embedded within the agreement. That particular provision has lawmakers like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) concerned about implementing measures in international trade deals that could ultimately contradict U.S. statute.
Without congressional action thus far, NAFTA remains the governing agreement for trade among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Texas has boasted significant economic gains since that deal’s implementation in the 1990s.
And Texas lawmakers hope the House can be refocused enough to pass the new trade deal to continue on NAFTA’s free trade legacy with which so many businesses and consumers in Texas rely upon — especially as trade wars elsewhere continue to escalate.
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Brad Johnson is a senior reporter for The Texan and an Ohio native who graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 2017. He is an avid sports fan who most enjoys watching his favorite teams continue their title drought throughout his cognizant lifetime. In his free time, you may find Brad quoting Monty Python productions and trying to calculate the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.