Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau plans to meet with the top-ranking members of the U.S. House and Senate during a trip to Washington this week to get a read on prospects for bringing the new North American trade deal up for a vote in Congress.
Trudeau’s office announced late last week that he would meet with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but Trudeau is also now planning sit-downs later in the day with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, two senior Canadian officials and a pair of congressional sources told POLITICO today.
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A “core” objective for Trudeau in those meetings will be to get a better sense of the legislative outlook for the USMCA, one of the senior Canadian officials said. It’s a pressing concern for Trudeau, who must decide whether to push Parliament to immediately vote on Canada’s USMCA implementation bill, C-100.
Canada’s Parliament is scheduled to adjourn this week, meaning that a quick vote on the USMCA bill would require lawmakers to pass judgment on the deal before knowing how the Trump administration intends to address House Democrats’ concerns with the pact.
Pelosi has assigned Democratic lawmakers to four negotiating groups to work with the administration on changes Democrats want made to the agreement’s provisions on labor, the environment, pharmaceuticals and enforcement.
Under normal circumstances, Parliament would not return until well after the Oct. 21 Canadian federal election. But Parliament could be recalled for an emergency session at any time prior to early September. At that point Canadian law requires Parliament to be dissolved for the formal, five-week election period.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland held meetings last week with U.S. lawmakers and explained some of these procedural constraints.
Trudeau has another, less pressing, reason for meeting with Pelosi: She owes him a sampling of delicacies from California after she lost a wager over the NBA championship, which the Toronto Raptors won by beating the Golden State Warriors.
Sabrina Rodriguez contributed to this report.