I hope election year politics does not completely halt the work of the Senate. Here we are one year before the election.

One item I am really hoping we can deliver for the American people is the USMCA. The United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. This trade agreement, as we know, will replace NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement, and help drive our trade relationship with Mexico and Canada in the 21st Century.

When you consider the number of American jobs that depend on trade with Mexico and Canada, the Chamber of Commerce cites a figure of 13 million jobs. Thirteen million jobs depend on that trade with Mexico and Canada. When you consider actions being taken by China to counter our interests all around the world, our reliance on North American partners is becoming increasingly important. The USMCA is not only an opportunity to strengthen North America’s position on the global stage, but it is important, as I suggested, to our economy right here in the United States.

Earlier this year the International Trade Commission provided some insight into what we can expect to see if this trade agreement is ratified, as it should be. The USMCA is expected to have a positive impact on every sector of the U.S. economy. Within six years we are looking at 176,000 new American jobs and an increase in American gross domestic project of more than $68 billion. That is bigger than the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

We can also look forward to more than a $33 billion increase in exports. And more than $31 billion in imports. We know that many of those exports and imports travel across the border in Texas, because we share 1,200 miles of common border with Mexico and we have many ports of entry in our state. In 2018 alone, Texas exported nearly $110 billion in goods to Mexico and imported more than $107 billion from Mexico. With the increased trade and travel we expect to see once the USMCA is ratified, we need to make sure our ports of entry, through which these goods flow, are prepared. We have been working with the administration on this and I have requested funding to prioritize Texas ports to make sure they are safe and efficient.

I am also hoping that the USMCA will include provisions from a bill I introduced earlier with another border state senator, our friend Senator Feinstein from California. This would improve the North American Development Bank, sometimes called the NADBank, which invests in our border communities and particularly in infrastructure. For every one NADBank dollar that has been invested in a project it has successfully leveraged $20 in total infrastructure investment using public and private sector dollars. Throughout NADBank’s 25-year history, they have taken on projects that have improved air and water quality, updated infrastructure and increased cross border trade. NADBank brings Mexico and the U.S. together to finance these projects to improve trade and travel and the quality of life on both sides of the border. This legislation that Senator Feinstein and I have introduced would authorize the Treasury Department to increase its capital and provide additional authority to fund critical projects.

So, I hope working with my friend and Democratic colleague from Laredo, Texas, Congressman Cuellar, we have been working to make sure that these provisions are included in the final text of the USMCA. My hope is we will be able to take those provisions up as well as the entire agreement and ratify it soon. But it depends on Speaker Pelosi. Everybody is waiting for her to show the green light and for the House to act, and I am concerned as we get closer and closer into the election season that it is going to be harder and harder for the House to even pass this bipartisan trade deal.

Right now, I read today, she is not predicting they can get it done before the end of the year. I would note that she made that comment roughly on the same day that the House adjourned for ten days. So, the House does not appear to be in any hurry. In fact, they have dragged their feet for many, many, months on something that is very important to our economy and job creation, right here in the USA.

Mr. President, Texas enjoys a strong trading relationship with our southern neighbor and I am confident that the USMCA will continue to propel that relationship forward as well as continue to grow our economy and create jobs and more opportunity for the American people.

Mr. President, I yield the floor and I would note the absence of a quorum.

Editor’s Note: The above commentary was part of a speech made on the floor of the U.S. Senate by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas on Nov. 21, 2019.

Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above commentary is credited to Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News.