KEY POINTS

  • Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she will vote for Trump's USMCA trade deal
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders, Warren's progressive rival, said that he believes the deal does not go far enough
  • Trump has frequently criticized the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and touted the USMCA as a replacement

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said on Friday that she plans to vote in favor of President Trump’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), saying that it “makes improvements” on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that was implemented by the Clinton administration in 1994. 

“Workers have had the legs taken out from underneath them and this agreement makes improvements,” Warren told CBS Boston affiliate WBZ. “It’s gonna help open up some markets for farmers, they need that stability. It’s gonna help with enforceable labor standards and that’s gonna be useful.”

Warren had initially dismissed the trade agreement and called it "NAFTA 2.0."

CNN reported that an aide for Warren said she changed her stance after improvements to labor standards, the lifting of a prescription drug provision and aide to farmers.

Democrats played an instrumental role in tweaking the deal before it passed the House, achieving concessions in areas such as labor and the environment.

“This is the first-ever trade coalition of workers, farmers, Republicans, Democrats, business and agriculture groups, organized labor and much more,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a celebratory statement after the vote.

The House of Representatives passed the USMCA agreement on Dec. 19 in a 385-41 vote. Thirty-eight Democrats opposed the deal. The USMCA will now head to the Senate before it will be put into law. 

Some labor unions and environmental groups believe that the revisions do not go far enough. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, perhaps the most progressive Democrat running for president, said last month that the agreement “is not going to stop outsourcing, it is not going to stop corporations from moving to Mexico, where workers make $2 an hour.”

President Trump has constantly criticized NAFTA since his presidential campaign and has called it the “worst trade deal in history” and a “disaster” for the United States.