The White House notably waited until the summer was over to try to submit the deal to Congress.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy complained on Monday that Democrats' work examining Donald Trump's attempts to pressure Ukraine and other countries to investigate his political opponents were undermining the nation's global standing.
McCarthy specifically claimed that, among other things, if Congress were not focused on impeachment, it would be able to ratify Trump's trade deal with Mexico and Canada.
McCarthy made the remarks during an interview on Fox Business. Asked about Trump's upcoming meetings with China on Thursday, he claimed — without evidence — that the impeachment inquiry is the reason USMCA has not yet been approved.
"The Democrats have the majority so they can control what comes forward," he claimed. "What they really should be doing: USMCA — United States, Mexico, and Canada. Mexico already ratified it. Canada is waiting on us."
He continued, "We've got a meeting with China coming up. A month and a half ago Mexico became our number one trader and Canada became number two. We'd be stronger in negotiation with China."
Democrats, he claimed, were "more concerned about tearing the president down than building America up."
"Because we have impeachment, we don't have USMCA," he added, suggesting Trump's negotiating position with Chinese President Xi Jinping would "be stronger ... if we had the USMCA done."
McCarthy's claims are questionable at best. Trump announced the USMCA more than a year ago, long before details of his call with Ukraine — in which he pressured Ukrainian Pesident Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his 2020 election rival, former Vice President Joe Biden — came to light, and House Democrats' current impeachment inquiry began.
While the White House could have formally submitted the new treaty to Congress long ago, it opted instead to wait until the summer was over so it could attempt to reach an agreement on improvements with a working group of congressional Democrats (whose support is needed for ratification). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi indicated just last week that the two sides were making progress.
On Sunday, Georgia Rep. Rob Woodall (R) stated in an op-ed for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Pelosi had "been working in good faith to rally her caucus."
Without implementing legislation to vote on yet, however, there is nothing to ratify at this time.
In that same Fox Business interview on Monday, McCarthy also warned that the nation's standing has been undermined by Trump "having to show a transcript of a conversation he had with another world leader" — seemingly forgetting that it was Trump who unilaterally decided to release what he said was a partial transcript of his call with his Ukrainian counterpart.
Elsewhere in the interview, McCarthy criticized the National Basketball Association and the Houston Rockets for acquiescing to China, following remarks from Rockets general manager Daryl Morey supporting the Hong Kong protests.
"Did they forget Tiananmen Square?" he asked. "Why wouldn't you stand with the man who stood in front of the tank? What about how this country was created? Does that mean, at the end of the day, they will fold over for the freedom and rights of what it means to be an American just because they want to earn a dollar?"
Just days ago, CNN reported that Trump himself had promised Xi he would remain silent on the Hong Kong protests while trade talks were ongoing.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.