TRADES & UNION DIGEST > Need to Know > USMCA clears House; Cadillac Tax on benefits repealed

USMCA clears House; Cadillac Tax on benefits repealed

4 weeks ago
Charlie Sprang
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From NJ AFL-CIO

The House of Representatives voted Thursday in favor of a new trade deal for North America on a bipartisan vote of 385-41, with a large majority of Democrats voting in favor of the deal, even though the party has long disliked massive trade bills like the North American Free Trade Agreement that the new deal, the USMCA, would replace. The new pact has the endorsement of major labor unions including the AFL-CIO. The Senate is expected to act on the package in 2020.

Meanwhile, after years of delays and indecision, Congress has finally acted to stand up for hardworking Americans, do what is right, and repeal the employer-provided health insurance tax, more commonly referred to as the Cadillac Tax.

“The Cadillac Tax is finally dead, and along with it one of the IAFF’s most important legislative priorities has been realized,” says General President Harold Schaitberger. “Employer-provided healthcare is part of this union’s foundation and we will continue in our fight to protect it at every opportunity, whether it be a tax or an attack that attempts to take it away completely.”

Among New Jersey members of Congress, Andy Kim (D-3rd) voted to allow the implementation of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which improves elements of the North American Free Trade Agreement that will help grow jobs and strengthen worker and environmental protections. Votes from other New Jersey elected officials were not immediately available.

The USMCA is not perfect, activists say.

“Despite some improvements, this new NAFTA deal is a far cry from the type of transformative trade policy that should serve as a template for new trade agreements moving forward,” said Arthur Stamoulis, Executive Director of the Citizens Trade campaign. “The entire progressive coalition that has been working on this issue stands committed to continue working together for better policies in the future.”

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