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Tonko Votes Against USMCA for Failure to Address Climate Change

Agreement falls far short of establishing meaningful climate and labor standards

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Washington, December 19, 2019 | comments

WASHINGTON – Congressman Paul D. Tonko voted today against H.R.5430, the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) Implementation Act, citing its failure to address the growing threat of climate change. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 385–41 and now heads to the United States Senate. The Agreement, also known as “NAFTA 2.0,” was first announced by the President in September 2018 and provided a number of damaging proposals for working Americans, doing little to prevent job outsourcing while including benefits to pharmaceutical industries.

“For 25 years, we watched NAFTA outsource American jobs. Under this agreement, we will see the continued outsourcing of pollution, undermining our domestic and international efforts to address climate change,” Congressman Tonko said. “While I am grateful to the dedication and work of Congressional Democrats to improve NAFTA, it still falls woefully short in these vital areas. The United States must get serious about the challenge of a changing climate and build international cooperation and commitments through all vehicles available to us, including our trade agreements. Trade negotiations do not happen frequently, but their impact is felt for generations. I cannot support a deal which fails to even acknowledge the global climate crisis that future generations will be left to bear.”

From the time USMCA was initially introduced, Democrats worked tirelessly to change the legislation, including removing giveaways for pharmaceutical industries to lock in high treatment costs and improving the original deal’s weak stance on labor standards. Despite these steps in the right direction, USMCA will not bring back the hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs impacted by the first agreement.

Congressman Tonko has long opposed NAFTA for its negative effects on the environment, American jobs, U.S. trade deficit, drug prices, food security and consumer protections. Since 1994, when NAFTA went into effect, New York has lost more than 389,000 manufacturing jobs.

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