(Reuters) – The trade landscape in the U.S. House of Representatives will shift significantly next year following Democrats’ seizure of control in Tuesday’s elections. In the Senate, the Republicans strengthened their majority. Here is a look at key congressional trade players to watch:
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has announced her intention to return as House speaker and so far has no challengers. As speaker, Pelosi, who has been has been skeptical of trade deals in recent years, will be responsible for bringing to the House floor a vote on the recent deal to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement next year. While she voted for the original NAFTA in 1993 and a U.S.-South Korea trade deal in 2011, she opposed the 2015 Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal. She has pledged to “closely scrutinize” the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Pelosi also has applauded Trump’s initial round of tariffs against China, citing the need to combat China’s “brazenly unfair trade policies”
Richard - Neal - Massachusetts - Chairman - House
Richard Neal of Massachusetts is expected to become chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, one of the most powerful trade posts in Congress. A 30-year House veteran with 25 years on the panel, Neal opposed the original NAFTA. He has said that the “bar for supporting a new NAFTA will be high,” and that he will insist on stronger enforcement of labor and environmental provisions. He also has pledged that Ways and Means Democrats will more often question Trump administration officials on their trade strategies, including how best to deal with China’s trade practices.
Representative Bill Pascrell, of New Jersey, a more traditional pro-labor Democrat, is seeking to head the Ways and Means trade subcommittee, where he now serves as the ranking Democrat. However, two other Democrats on the panel, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Ron Kind of Wisconsin, are weighing whether...
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