Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) vowed if elected president to immediately renegotiate the “disastrous” United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal.
“As the only leading presidential candidate to oppose Trump’s NAFTA 2.0, I am pledging today that upon being sworn in as president, I will immediately begin renegotiating this disastrous deal to combat climate change, stop the outsourcing of American jobs and end the destructive race to the bottom,” Sanders said in a statement he issues shortly after President Trump signed USMCA into law. “The NAFTA 2.0 that Trump signed today is an absolute disaster. In addition to doing nothing to stop the offshoring of jobs, the deal is a giveaway to the fossil fuel industry at a time when climate change threatens our planet.”
He added, “It does not even mention the words ‘climate change’, the most existential threat facing our planet. We need a trade policy that works for the working class and improves the environment. And that’s exactly what I will fight for as president.”
I proudly oppose Trump’s NAFTA 2.0. The United States outsourced more than 170,000 jobs in the last three years. The deal doesn’t even mention the words “climate change.”
— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) January 29, 2020
Sanders, along with eight other senate Democrats voted against USMCA earlier this month, citing environmental concerns. The Senate overwhelmingly passed the proposed proposed replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) by a vote of 89 to 10.
He is also the sole 2020 Democratic presidential candidate to oppose the trade deal. In the last Democratic Debate, Sanders said he would vote against the agreement because “it does not even have the phrase ‘climate change’ in it,” and would “us back a number of years.”
“We could do much better than a Trump-led trade deal,” Sanders said at the Iowa debate stage in January. “Every major environmental organization has said no to this new trade agreement because it does not even have the phrase “climate change” in it. And given the fact that climate change is right now the greatest threat facing this planet, I will not vote for a trade agreement that does not incorporate very, very strong principles to significantly lower fossil fuel emissions in the world.”
Sanders’ opponents and senate colleagues signaled support for the deal during the debate.
“This new trade deal is a modest improvement,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren(D-MA) said. “It will give some relief to our farmers. It will give some relief to our workers. I believe we accept that relief, we try to help the people who need help, and we get up the next day and fight for a better trade deal.”
Another candidate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota said she backed the deal after the improvements were implemented.
“I support the USMCA, I am glad that these improvements were made that are supported by people like Richard Trumka and Sherrod Brown on labor and environment,” Klobuchar said.
Trump signed the USMCA into law Wednesday morning during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.