Sanders stands alone in opposition to new trade deal

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was the only candidate in Tuesday’s Democratic debate to oppose the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), an update to the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“If this is passed I think it will set us back a number of years,” Sanders said of the deal, which has the backing of the AFL-CIO union. Other unions, Sanders noted, remained opposed.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said that she would support the deal negotiated between President Trump and House Democrats because it was an improvement over the current agreement, but would continue to fight for more stringent deals.


“We need a different approach to trade and it starts with the corruption of the giant corporations,” she said.

Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) agreed that the deal had been improved and said he would support it, as did Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.).

Not everyone on the stage addressed USMCA, which passed in the House and could pass in the Senate as soon as this week, specifically.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and businessman Tom Steyer both emphasized the need to focus on climate in the deal, an issue Sanders brought up as well.

“There will be no trade agreements signed in my administration without environmental standards,” said Biden.

Steyer, weighing in on a partial trade deal with China that Trump is set to sign Wednesday, said “if climate is not your No. 1 priority, you can’t sign a deal.”

Steyer has previously expressed support for USMCA.

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