WASHINGTON – Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Friday that she now supports President Donald Trump’s renegotiated United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement because it “makes improvements.”
The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved the sweeping trade deal in late 2019, just one day after impeaching Trump on a mostly partisan vote.
“Workers have had the legs taken out from underneath them and this agreement makes improvements,” Warren told a Boston CBS affiliate Friday. “It’s gonna help open up some markets for farmers, they need that stability. It’s gonna help with enforceable labor standards and that’s gonna be useful. We really need trade negotiations going forward that make sure anyone who wants access to our markets is actually helping us in the fight against climate change and helping build an economy that works for everybody in the U.S.”
The approval sets her apart from fellow progressive and 2020 Democratic primary contender Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who has stated he would not vote for the agreement.
More:Republicans, Democrats in Congress remain at impasse on articles of impeachment against Trump
When asked about the differentiating views between her and Sanders, Warren said, “Well, Bernie sees this differently, obviously…. you’ll have to ask Bernie his reasons.”
During the December Democratic debate, Sanders quipped that though the new agreement was “a modest improvement” he wouldn’t vote for it because “It is not going to stop outsourcing. It is not going to stop corporations from moving to Mexico.”
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who is also running for the 2020 Democratic nomination, previously called for changes regarding the trade deal last year, but has yet to talk about his position on the bipartisan bill passed by the House.
Warren’s approval is new as she previously disagreed with the initial version of the trade agreement, and demanded changes. She said in 2018 that “Trump’s deal won’t stop the serious and ongoing harm NAFTA causes for American workers. It won’t stop outsourcing, it won’t raise wages, and it won’t create jobs. It’s NAFTA 2.0.”
The new trade pact will replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, a nearly quarter-century-old accord that essentially eliminated tariffs on most goods traded among the three countries.
More:‘I want to have peace.’ How Trump went from a vow to avoid conflict to an order to kill Iran general
The Senate could ratify the trade deal as soon as this month.
Among the changes negotiated by Democrats are stronger provisions regarding the enforcement of labor and environmental standards. For example, the revised pact calls for monitors in Mexico City to make sure Mexico lives up to tough environmental laws, regulations and practices. A verification process will enable U.S. customs workers to block goods from entering the country if they have been produced in violation of those rules.
Warren stated Friday that she wants to “see improvement for our farmers and workers. It’s not as much improvement as I’d like to see but right now they’re in a terrible hole where Donald Trump has put them. I want to get them out of that hole.”
Contributing: Michael Collins