How Nancy Pelosi Puts Impeachment Above Her Own Party’s Interests

By W. David Montgomery

Editor’s Note: With the impeachment proceedings producing nothing more notable than Adam Schiff’s intimidation of witnesses and revelation that he was spying on the telephone calls of journalists and private citizens, this issue will address some of the opportunity costs of impeachment: lack of action on legislation with strong bipartisan support in the House that would ensure passage in both chambers. Matt Daley, a former Secret Service agent and co-editor, writes about the need to pass HR 838, and act that would allow law enforcement to utilize techniques developed by the Secret Service to identify and mitigate threats. David Montgomery writes about another action stalled by impeachment, approval of a new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada also supported by both parties and sure to pass the House if brought up for a vote.

One of the ironies of the impeachment process is that Nancy Pelosi seems willing to sacrifice the very Democrat congressmen whose election gave her a majority by putting good legislation on hold while impeachment proceeds. The case in point is legislation that would replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between the US, Canada and Mexico with a new agreement far more favorable to the US and particularly workers in traditionally Democrat districts who voted for Trump.

This new agreement, called the US-Canada-Mexico Agreement (USMCA), was described by the Seattle Times (!) as “enormously important to Washington’s economic growth and job creation. The U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) also substantially improves environmental and labor protections over NAFTA, the 1994 agreement it will replace.”

From the beginning, President Trump promised to negotiate a new agreement to replace NAFTA, which he characterized as a highly flawed agreement that gave away US interests. The USMCA appears to satisfy his promise.

All U.S. business supports the new provisions that greatly increase protection of intellectual property, including enforcement of copyrights, strong patent protection and stopping imports of counterfeit goods. Unions support USMCA because it contains a number of provisions to protect workers, including minimum wages in Mexico’s auto plants and worker rights in Mexico. Small and medium businesses are pleased with the exemption of more small shipments to and from Canada and Mexico from customs costs.

Environmentalists gain because USMCA imposes obligations to combat trafficking in wildlife, timber, and fish; to provide new protections for marine species like whales and sea turtles; to enhance the effectiveness of customs inspections of shipments containing wild fauna and flora at ports of entry; and first-ever articles to improve air quality, prevent and reduce marine litter, and support sustainable forest management.

Nancy Pelosi refuses to bring the bill to the floor of the House, even though it has overwhelming support from Democrat members as well as Republicans. She appears unwilling to give the President a major accomplishment by having a treaty he negotiated endorsed by both parties. Or else she is determined to prevent any distraction from the theatrical efforts of Rep. Schiff to hoodwink the American public.

The likely outcome of her obstruction, reinforcing the likely outcome of the impeachment circus, is the defeat of many Democrats in districts that voted for Trump, leading to loss of the House to Republicans and the re-election of Donald Trump. What possible rational basis there could be for this behavior is a mystery.