Trump Shifts Gears on Infrastructure, Demanding Trade Come First – The New York Times

Mr. Trump, in the letter, did not rule out working on infrastructure and said he still hoped to discuss the topic with Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer on Wednesday, urging them to bring specific priorities to the meeting. And he chided them for canceling a meeting of their aides to discuss the matter. “Nevertheless, I remain committed to passing an infrastructure bill,” he wrote.

But by prioritizing the trade agreement, he essentially put infrastructure on the back burner because there is no momentum to pass the deal with Mexico and Canada at the moment. Mr. Trump signed the agreement with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts in November, and yet, six months later, there has not been a single vote on it on Capitol Hill.

“This path-breaking deal, already agreed to by the governments of Canada and Mexico, will boost employment growth and create millions of high-wage jobs,” he wrote. “It will benefit farmers, manufacturing workers, unions and businesses throughout our great nation.”

The agreement updates the North American Free Trade Agreement, first brokered in the 1990s but long derided by Mr. Trump as a bad deal for the United States. The president faces a challenge in convincing skeptics in Congress on both the right and the left that his version represents enough of an improvement.

Some pro-trade lawmakers complain that the revised agreement puts too many limits on the free flow of goods and services across borders, while trade skeptics maintain that it does not do enough to safeguard American jobs, encourage higher wages and protect the environment.

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