Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said during Friday night’s presidential debate in New Hampshire that the state’s two Democratic senators — Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen — were wrong to vote for President Trump‘s new trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
“Yes,” Sanders said when asked directly if Hassan and Shaheen were incorrect in voting for the deal. “I mean, it’s a disagreement.”
“There is not one word in that trade agreement that deals with climate change, and I don’t know how in 2020 you could do that,” Sanders said.
He went on to argue that the agreement, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), would lead to continued outsourcing of American jobs to Mexico.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who voted for the USMCA, said she wanted to “defend the honor of the incredible two senators from New Hampshire.”
She said there were “major improvements” in the trade agreement pertaining to labor inspections.
Klobuchar said she would work to make sure that climate change provisions are included in future trade deals and that the best ways to tackle the issue are to reenter the Paris climate agreement, restore former President Obama’s clean power rules and put a price on carbon. She argued that having no trade agreement with Canada and Mexico would put the U.S. at a disadvantage when trying to “pushing China to do better when it comes to climate change.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) also explained her vote in favor of Trump’s North American trade deal, saying Democrats helped to improve the agreement and that it “makes things somewhat better for workers and for farmers.”
“When I see a law that makes things somewhat better for hardworking people in this country, I say, ‘I’ll sign up for that.’ And then I’ll get up tomorrow morning and I’ll start working hard for a better trade deal on climate,” Warren said.
Another candidate, Tom Steyer, said he agreed with Sanders on the USMCA.
“Everybody wants to get into our market, and that’s how we convince them that they’ve got to be right on climate too,” Steyer said.