taking the high road
January 29, 2020

President Trump plans to sign the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) trade pact on Wednesday in a White House ceremony with representatives from Canada and Mexico and about 400 other guests. But the White House declined to invite any of the House Democrats who helped Trump secure his biggest trade deal. Mexico's parliament has ratified the deal, which replaces the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), as has the U.S. Congress, but Canada still needs to approve it before it takes effect, likely in a few months. This is the latest high-profile event Trump has held during his Senate impeachment trial.

"The White House hasn't invited House Democrats to their USMCA signing ceremony," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) spokesman Henry Connelly. "But we'll be well represented in the huge changes to the original USMCA draft that Democrats wrested out of the administration on labor, prescription drugs, environment, and enforcement mechanisms."

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the list of invitees includes "members of Congress, state and local leaders, and workers from across the country, including farmers, ranchers, and entrepreneurs," adding that "USMCA rebalances trade in North America, replaces the job-killing NAFTA, ends the outsourcing of American jobs, and invests in the American worker." Trade experts "say the impact of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement will be modest," The Associated Press notes.

"It's a blip," Syracuse University trade economist Mary Lovely tells AP. "The main thing is what it isn't: It isn't a continuation of uncertainty, and it isn't a major disruption," as Trump's other trade policies have been on business. Peter Weber

March 23, 2016

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) avoided naming any names as he bemoaned how American politics has devolved into a "battle of insults" in a Wednesday address to fellow Republicans. While Ryan did warn against politicians playing into voters' "anxieties" and resorting to insults, he kept his focus toward the future, pushing the GOP to avoid becoming "disheartened" and to rise above the petty drama and focus on policy ideas.

"All of us as leaders can hold ourselves to the highest standards of integrity and decency. Instead of playing to your anxieties, we can appeal to your aspirations," Ryan said. "Instead of playing the identity politics of 'our base' and 'their base,' we unite people around ideas and principles."

Ryan then took his own advice, admitting that he has not always been right and backpedaling on "ugliness" he's spread in the past. "There was a time when I talked about makers and takers in this country... I realize I was wrong," Ryan said, adding, "We should demand better from ourselves." Becca Stanek

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