Democratic senators running for president keep silent on USMCA

Ryan Teague Beckwith

For now, the five senators running for president are staying on the sidelines of the push to rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement, but they’ll have to vote on the new treaty by next year.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have long argued against President Donald Trump’s proposed revision of Nafta, known as the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, arguing it should have stronger labor and environmental protections.

But in the day since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled a bipartisan compromise backed by the AFL-CIO labor federation that includes some of those measures, the presidential candidates have kept quiet.

Senators Michael Bennet, from left, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sanders will have to vote on the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement by next year.

So has former Vice President Joe Biden, who has taken criticism from Sanders for his support of the original free trade deal in the 1990s. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, who both called for changes to the deal earlier this year, also haven’t spoken out.

Only Senator Michael Bennet responded to a request for comment from Bloomberg News, noting that he has called for a “modernized trade agreement” and an end to Trump’s “reckless and unstrategic approach to trade.”

“I look forward to reviewing the details of yesterday’s announced deal,” Bennet said. “I’m hopeful that this trade agreement can be a positive step in that direction.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the Senate will vote on the trade deal after an impeachment trial is finished, sometime in early 2020.

Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.