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Submitted by the Office of Congresswoman Jan Schakowski

On Jan. 29, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Access to Medicines Co-Lead on Speaker Pelosi’s 8-Member working group, made the following statement after President Trump signed the United States Mexico Canada Trade Agreement into law: 

“Today, President Donald J. Trump signed the US-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, thanks to the work of Democrats in the House of Representatives. President Trump originally delivered to the House an agreement that was a corporate giveaway to pharmaceutical companies and other industries. I am proud to say that under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and Congressman Richie Neal, who chaired our working group, we made this trade deal one that benefits the American people instead of bottom lines of corporate entities. The renegotiated trade agreement is far, far better than the original NAFTA, and far better than the deeply flawed trade deal President Trump originally handed us.  

“The Trump Administration tried to tuck in huge gifts to Big Pharma that would have raised medicine prices throughout the hemisphere. From Day 1 of our negotiations, I insisted that provisions that gave pharmaceutical companies 10-year patent exclusivity be removed, and as a result they are not in the deal signed into law today.

“We removed provisions that would have increased drug prices in the hemisphere and revised unfair provisions so that they now ensure generic competition and improve access to affordable medicines for people across North America. Without the changes forced by our working group and our staff, Speaker Pelosi, and AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka, the President would not have had a deal to sign today. 

“This agreement is not perfect, and therefore cannot serve as a template for future trade agreements. The renegotiated USMCA still includes a gift to Big Tech that provides a liability shield for all content on internet platforms called Section 230. I agree with Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone and Ranking Member Greg Walden in saying that we cannot allow Section 230 in future trade agreements. 

“Still, we now have a new floor for workers and consumers in trade agreements that we can and must build on moving forward. Though the President boasted and crowed while signing USMCA today, we must remember that it’s House Democrats who fixed USMCA for America’s patients, workers and our environment.”