House Democrats’ fervor to impeach President Donald Trump has stalled the body’s work of writing legislation for the foreseeable future.
Prior to the start of the impeachment inquiry hearings, House Democrats said they would not affect progress on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the replacement for the decades-old North American Free Trade Agreement.
House Democrats were wrong.
Despite the end of the two weeks’ worth of impeachment inquiry hearings, lawmakers now will spend precious time writing a report that may lead to articles of impeachment—instead of legislating. And, there’s no telling how long the report writing will take.
In addition, House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, a California Democrat, has left the door open to call additional witness and hold more hearings, if needed.
Prior to leaving town for the Thanksgiving recess, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi held a press conference, saying, “I’d like to see us get it done this year, I mean, that would be my goal,” speaking on USMCA passage.
However, her words aren’t lining up with her colleagues’ actions. The House Democrats have proved that USMCA progress and the impeachment inquiry cannot happen concurrently. Their infatuation with removing the president from office is the goal. Doing what’s best for the country can wait.
Now, combine these two bright, shiny objects with a potential government shutdown in December, and one can see why faith in a USMCA vote this year is low.
So, why doesn’t the U.S. Senate vote on USMCA? USMCA is considered revenue legislation and must originate in the House.
On Nov. 24, President Trump tweeted, “Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, AOC and the rest of the Democrats are not getting important legislation done, hence, the Do Nothing Democrats. USMCA, National Defense Authorization Act, Gun Safety, Prescription Drug Prices, & Infrastructure are dead in the water because of the Dems!”
Pelosi isn’t the only lawmaker feeling the heat. Constituents of freshmen Democratic lawmakers from Trump-won districts are getting tired of their slow pace of getting things done.
To that, Pelosi said, “I keep telling the freshman class: ‘This is about legislation. It takes time.’”
The problem with this argument is that the guaranteed tenure of a congressman or congresswoman is two years. They are constantly in campaign mode and do not have the luxury of waiting, if they want to win re-election.
Time will tell if that frustration spills over to Election Day in 2020.
On Nov. 21, Farmers for Free Trade Co-Executive Director Brian Kuehl said, “Farmers are watching USMCA closely and are increasingly frustrated by delays and false hope. While Congress and the administration say they’re on the five-yard line, Americans that depend on trade with Canada and Mexico just see a delay of game.”
Editor’s note: Seymour Klierly writes Washington Whispers for the Journal from inside the Beltway.