Schakowsky Statement On Passage of U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement

December 19, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Access to Medicines Co-Lead on Speaker Pelosi’s 8-Member NAFTA Working Group, spoke on the U.S. House floor today prior to the final vote on the United States Mexico Canada Trade Agreement. Her full statement is below:

"M. Speaker, I rise in support of the United States Mexico Canada trade agreement.

“This is the first trade agreement I’m voting for in my twenty years plus in the United States Congress.

“I’m proud to have served on Speaker Pelosi’s working group that helped negotiate it, chaired by Richie Neal.

“The renegotiated NAFTA is far, far better than the original North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It’s also far better than the deeply flawed trade deal President Trump handed us last year.

“For example, the Trump Administration tried to tuck in huge gifts to Big Pharma that would have raised medicine prices throughout the hemisphere. From Day 1 of our negotiations, I insisted that the biologics exclusivity provision be removed. Today it’s gone.

“We also removed protections for secondary patents that would have increased drug prices in the U.S and revised unfair provisions to ensure generic competition and to improve access to affordable medicines for people across North America.

“Without the changes forced by the Working Group and our staff, the Speaker, and AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, we would not be voting on this agreement today.

“This agreement is not perfect, and therefore cannot serve as a template for future trade agreements. The renegotiated USCMA still includes a gift to Big Tech that provides a liability shield for all content on internet platforms called Section 230.

“I seek unanimous consent to insert into the record a letter from Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Greg Walden that says we cannot allow Section 230 in future trade agreements.

“Still, I urge all my colleagues to support USMCA—the new floor for workers and consumers in trade agreements that we can and must build on moving forward.”