Democrats are doing serious damage to our republic with their shameful impeachment antics, but there’s still a bright spot even in this dark chapter of our political history. The public backlash against their politically motivated crusade has forced them — in spite of themselves — to act on behalf of American workers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has finally agreed to do what she should have done 15 months ago: hold a vote on approving the popular U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). It didn’t happen on its own. Pelosi has endured months of relentless pressure over her refusal to deliver this layup for the American people, but she only caved after the Democrats most recent ill-fated attempt to overturn the 2016 presidential election began to collapse like the house of cards is always was.
Throughout this process, Pelosi has vehemently insisted that impeachment would not prevent the Democrats from legislating, but without some action on USMCA — a big-ticket item with strong bipartisan support that promises enormous benefits for American workers — her claim that Democrats could “walk and chew gum” at the same time looked awfully thin. The Democrats had to show they could actually do something constructive for the American people in order to make a remotely plausible case that impeachment was not a disruptive, all-consuming obsession.
There really wasn’t any viable alternative on the table, because abandoning the impeachment effort was never in the cards. (RELATED: BARR: I Worked On The Clinton Impeachment — And Trump Is Not Impeachable)
Impeachment, even based on what distinguished law professor Jonathan Turley called “one of the thinnest records ever to go forward,” was a foregone conclusion from the moment Pelosi gave the green light for an “impeachment inquiry.” Having caved to the radicals in their party, who have been demanding President Trump’s impeachment ever since he took office, Democratic leaders couldn’t very well walk back from that ledge without discrediting the entire anti-Trump narrative they’ve painstakingly crafted over the past three years.
So even as we deplore the Democrats’ destructive impeachment antics, let’s be glad that the American people at least got a landmark, epoch-defining trade deal out of it. The USMCA redresses the oversights and blatant injustices of 1994’s North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which dramatically accelerated the deindustrialization of America and cost our country hundreds of thousands of good manufacturing jobs over the course of a generation.
The new agreement will, for the first time, directly put American workers on a more even footing with their Mexican counterparts.
If Mexican auto factories wish to compete in the American market without tariff barriers, for instance, they’ll have to pay their workers at least $16 per hour, reducing the incentive for companies to relocate production to Mexico in order to take advantage of lower wages. Businesses in all three countries will also have to respect fundamental labor rights to organize in a union, strike, and collectively bargain, just as American business owners do.
These measures are going to make it far less attractive to offshore American jobs. We know American workers are the most productive in the world, and given a level playing field, they will always be able to successfully compete with workers in any other country. Thanks to President Trump and his negotiating team, Mexico and Canada have agreed to give American workers that chance.
Pelosi apparently hopes to claim credit for the deal, but the USMCA is pure Trump. He explicitly campaigned on replacing NAFTA, and he delivered that result in an incredibly short amount of time. In fact, Pelosi has now spent nearly as long dithering over the deal as it took President Trump to secure concessions from Canada and Mexico.
Thanks to the political heat Democrats are feeling over their miscalculated impeachment gambit, Pelosi had no choice but to stand aside and stop stonewalling this once-in-a-generation opportunity to enrich American workers. It is also clearly a positive for the president’s reelection campaign and will further strengthen an already historically strong labor market.
Andy Puzder (@AndyPuzder) was the chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants for more than 16 years after a career as a trial attorney. He was nominated by President Trump to serve as U.S. labor secretary. He is the author of “The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left’s Plot to Stop It,” and co-author of “Job Creation: How It Really Works and Why Government Doesn’t Understand It.”
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.