The Senate will vote on the new North American trade pact on Thursday, just before senators are sworn in as jurors for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial.
The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement is expected to pass with overwhelming bipartisan support. Senators began formal consideration of the pact on Wednesday afternoon.
Earlier on Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the deal was on track to be passed ahead of Trump's trial and could get a vote "very soon."
"We are finally on the threshold of approving this agreement and sending it to President Trump’s desk to become law," he said on the Senate floor.
Once the Senate passes USMCA, the deal will be sent to Trump’s desk for his signature. Trump said Wednesday he will sign the deal next week.
Senators have a total of 20 hours to be divided equally between both parties to debate the deal under the trade promotion authority legislation. However, it’s unlikely that lawmakers will take up the full allotted time.
But the deal will not fully enter into force until Canada ratifies the USMCA. Mexico has already passed the revised deal, and Canada is expected to hold a vote in the House of Commons once it reconvenes in late January.
“All eyes will be on Canada to get the job done quickly so we can all work together to implement this agreement,” Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley said on the Senate floor.
The vote comes after seven committees of jurisdiction advanced the USMCA. On Wednesday, four of those committees held the vote in order to clear the way for a floor vote Thursday.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the pact in a 29-2 vote. The HELP Committee advanced the USMCA implementing bill in a 22-1 vote. The Commerce Committee also approved the pact. And the Foreign Relations Committee also reported the pact favorably after moving up its scheduled markup a day earlier to accommodate a quick Senate floor vote.
Three other committees — Senate Finance, Budget and Environment and Public Works — had already approved the deal.
The USMCA has garnered strong bipartisan support after House Democrats secured changes to the pact’s enforcement, environment, labor and pharmaceutical provisions. Those changes helped the pact sail through the House, which overwhelmingly passed the deal in December in a 385-41 vote.