Senator Elizabeth Warren signaled support for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement on Friday, joining moderate Democratic competitors Joe Biden and Amy Klobuchar while distancing herself from progressive Bernie Sanders, an opponent of the accord.
While she didn’t explicitly say how she’ll vote, Warren said the deal would “help open up some markets for farmers” who “need that stability.”
“Workers have had the legs taken out from underneath them and this agreement makes improvements,” Warren said Friday in an interview with the CBS TV affiliate in Boston. “It’s going to help with enforceable labor standards, and that’s going to be useful.”
The Senate could vote to pass the USMCA as early as next week. The accord that replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement was passed by the House in December, after it drew broad support from Republicans, Democrats, labor groups and businesses.
Warren had previously criticized the deal. During a 2018 speech on foreign policy at American University in Washington she raised concerns that the deal, as written, wouldn’t halt outsourcing, raise wages or create jobs, referring to it as “Nafta 2.0.”
Warren at the Democratic presidential debate in Los Angeles in December didn’t answer a question about how she planned to vote. By contrast, Sanders said that while the deal improved on Nafta, it fell far short of protecting jobs and he wouldn’t vote in favor.
“It is not going to stop outsourcing, it is not going to stop corporations from moving to Mexico,” Sanders said.
Warren and Sanders are vying for the support of progressive Democrats, but have largely refrained from criticizing each other. When asked whether her support for USMCA showed a difference with Sanders, she dodged the question.
“I want to see improvement for our farmers and workers. It’s not as much improvement as I’d like to see, but right now they’re in a terrible hole where Donald Trump has put them. I want to get them out of that hole,” Warren said. “Bernie sees this differently, obviously. You’ll have to ask Bernie his reasons.”
— With assistance by Anna Edgerton
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