Nov. 17 U.S. House of Representatives Approves NAFTA
With a vote of 234 for and 200 against, the North American Free Trade Agreement was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on this day in 1993 after a hard-fought Congressional battle. Shortly thereafter the measure was approved by the Senate, where the result was never in doubt. This represented a glorious victory for then President Bill Clinton.
Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution says, “The Congress shall have the Power To… Regulate Commerce with Foreign Nations.” To pass any such legislation all that is needed is a simple majority, which in this case would have been 218 votes.
NAFTA established a trilateral trade bloc between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that economists and other experts have agreed has benefitted both the North American economies as a whole as well as the average citizen. Inevitably, a small minority of workers in industries facing trade competition have been made worse off.
Recently, NAFTA has come under fire from both Republicans led by President Donald Trump, and the wing of Democrats led primarily by Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Both wings essentially argue that the deal has been bad for American workers, choosing to focus on those relatively few workers who have been harmed by the competition brought on by the agreement, and President Trump recently negociated a new agreement between the three trading partners.
- Why do you think NAFTA has not been good for some American workers?
- Which of the three countries, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, do you think has benefitted the most from the agreement?
- Does the president have the power to unilaterally change NAFTA for the U.S.? Why or why not?
18 July, 2018, NAFTA Flags. [Digital image]. Retrieved from <chiefexecutive.net/manufacturers-consider-impacts-nafta-negotiations/>.