Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Voted Against USMCA On Climate Grounds

Senate Minority Leader Schumer Photo: Leah Mills, Reuters

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, as well as nine other Democrats including Senators Sanders, Whitehouse, Gillibrand, Harris, Markey, and Schatz, voted against the President’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade deal — Schumer rejected the pact because, “on the greatest issue facing our planet, addressing the climate crisis, the USMCA falls far too short.”  The agreement passed overwhelmingly, 90-10, in large part because the House of Representatives conducted months of closed-door negotiations that improved workers’ rights provisions and thus it garnered the support labor unions.

Why This Matters:  It was a day that will go down in history because of impeachment, but Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer made history on climate change too — he voted against a major trade deal on climate grounds.  The times are changing. The final agreement actually contained some improvements over NAFTA in the area of ocean conservation and marine natural resources protection. But it failed to even mention, much less address the urgent threats posed by climate change. It also failed to close loopholes for corporate polluters or to protect clean air and water. The time for compromise on climate is passed.  There can be no more missed opportunities and half loaves.  Climate change can no longer wait for the next trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which could be 30 years away.  By then, we might have reached the point of no return on warming.

Senators Voting In the Negative

Senator Schumer also said, “Instead of advancing global climate security by outlining binding and enforceable climate commitments from all three countries, the Trump administration provides significant incentives for manufacturers to move their business and their jobs from the U.S. to Mexico, where clean air and clean water regulations are much weaker.”

Senator Cory Booker said, “USMCA does not meaningfully address any of these issues: jobs will continue to be outsourced, the environment will continue to be under attack, and middle class and working families will continue to be left behind.”

Senator Kamala Harris said, “By not addressing climate change, the USMCA fails to meet the crises of this moment.”

Senator Ed Markey voted against it, characterizing the deal as “a profound environmental and climate failure” that will “hinder progress on climate action for a generation.”

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said the agreement “fails to close loopholes for corporate polluters or set binding, enforceable standards to protect clean air and water.”

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