Peter Navarro

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

trade

Navarro: White House wants North American trade deal passed in '30 to 60 days'

The Trump administration is pushing to get Congress to pass the new North American trade deal within the next two months, a top White House trade adviser said today.

"We're hoping to get this thing done within the next 30 to 60 days," Peter Navarro said on CNBC, referring to the USMCA as "the big deal."

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Navarro called the next 30 days "critical" to getting the agreement passed, as lawmakers return to Washington this week after summer break and House Democrats continue to negotiate with the Trump administration to make changes to reflect their priorities.

Navarro said the August recess had been "the big obstacle" to the deal moving forward, but he put the odds that Congress passes the agreement by year's end at 100 percent.

"It's so important for this country, and I can't imagine that [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi would not put this on the floor to at least have a vote," Navarro said. "I think she is going to do the right thing on this and get the job done."

U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has for months been engaged with House Democrats as they push for changes to the pact's labor standards, environmental provisions, prescription drug language and enforcement.

Democratic lawmakers and staffers say they were in close contact with Lighthizer and his staff throughout the summer break but that they can't move forward until they see formal counter-proposals from the administration, which USTR has yet to provide.

Navarro made no reference to the ongoing negotiations but put the onus on lawmakers to make progress on the deal, which he emphasized is popular around the country.

"They only have so many days on the calendar," Navarro said of Congress. "It’s really interesting how little they work, at least back here in Swampland."

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