July 08, 2019

New Democrat Coalition Urges Ambassador Lighthizer to Resolve Outstanding Issues

Washington, DC – Today, New Democrat Coalition Chair Derek Kilmer, Vice-Chair for Policy Suzan DelBene, and NDC Trade Task Force Co-Chairs Ron Kind, Rick Larsen, Gregory Meeks, and Lizzie Fletcher sent a letter to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer urging him to continue working with NDC and the Speaker’s Working Group to resolve the outstanding issues that must be addressed for a successful, bipartisan passage of the updated North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

“While we appreciate your willingness to listen, we have not seen any meaningful progress or tangible proposals from you to address these concerns. It has been clear from the outset that such proposals are necessary for a successful resolution,” the letter to Ambassador Lighthizer reads. The Members also indicated any action to submit implementing text ahead of these resolutions or without an agreement from Democratic Leadership would be premature and unproductive.

NDC Members remain optimistic that outstanding concerns can be addressed in a timely manner. The letter goes on to say: “We look forward to continuing to work with you to develop these proposals to help ensure a strong, bipartisan vote on the updated NAFTA later this year.”

Read the full letter below or here.

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July 8, 2019 

Dear Ambassador Lighthizer,

We appreciate all the work you have done with the New Democrat Coalition and the rest of the Democratic caucus to resolve the outstanding issues that must be addressed for a successful, bipartisan passage of the updated North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 

These conversations have been frank, productive and engaged in in good faith by all parties, and we are therefore optimistic that these limited concerns can be addressed in a timely manner. While we appreciate your willingness to listen, we have not seen any meaningful progress or tangible proposals from you to address these concerns. It has been clear from the outset that such proposals are necessary for a successful resolution.

The New Democrat Coalition was integral in the development and passage of the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 (TPA). It is our belief, as legislators intimately involved with the law under which the new NAFTA was negotiated, that moving forward with implementing legislation absent the agreement of Democratic leadership would almost certainly be taken as a failure to fulfill the consultation requirements of TPA. We were troubled that you sent up the draft Statement of Administrative Action on May 30 without sufficient consultation, and strongly urge you not to make the same mistake twice.

We look forward to continuing to work with you to develop these proposals to help ensure a strong, bipartisan vote on the updated NAFTA later this year.

Sincerely,

NDC Chair Derek Kilmer

NDC Vice-Chair for Policy Suzan DelBene 

NDC Trade Task Force Co-Chair Ron Kind 

NDC Trade Task Force Co-Chair Rick Larsen 

NDC Trade Task Force Co-Chair Gregory Meeks 

NDC Trade Task Force Co-Chair Lizzie Fletcher



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