Casten Statement on His Vote to Approve the USMCA Trade Agreement

December 19, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C – Today, U.S. Representative Sean Casten (IL-06) released the following statement after he voted in support of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the agreement that regulates trade between the three countries.

Congressman Casten’s vote in support of the USMCA follows months of negotiations initiated by House Democrats to improve the Trump Administration-negotiated deal that had, amongst other things, weak labor protections and big handouts to drug makers. The successful negotiations resulted in several new key provisions that vastly improve the deal, including overall enforcement of the trade agreement, landmark labor standards and enforcement, and removal of unacceptable giveaways to drug companies.

Casten said, “I am proud of the work we have done to push for a better trade deal that will benefit American workers, businesses, and farmers alike. This agreement protects American workers by creating truly enforceable labor standards. It ensures that America can act to lower its prescription drug prices by removing provisions in the original deal that gave lengthy monopoly periods for the most expensive drugs. It maintains American agriculture export markets and improves Canadian market access for U.S. dairy and wheat producers. And lastly, it strengthens our trade relationship with our closest trading allies and supports the 12 million American jobs and the 120,000 U.S. small and medium-size businesses that sell their goods and services to Canada and Mexico.

“Although, I believe the provisions in the USMCA will greatly benefit the United States across our economy, this deal is not perfect. I wish we would have seen more action on climate. Given recent scientific estimates, we must account for climate in everything that we do, including trade, in order to achieve the global emissions reductions needed to prevent additional sea-level rise and the other irreversible effects of climate change. Additionally, in the future, we must reevaluate regulations on the technology sector, specifically provisions that grant internet platforms immunity from consequences stemming from what its users post.

“But there is no denying it: With the USMCA, the trade rules in America will now be fairer. All Americans depend on the free and fair trade.  I was proud to vote for the USMCA today and am proud of our dedication to fight for policies that expand the American economy and protect American businesses and workers.”