The White House plans to send its replacement for the North American Free Trade Agreement to Congress after Sept. 1, setting up a vote by the end of the year, sources told CNBC.
The White House could submit the bill to Congress as soon as this week to start the approval process. House Democrats are meeting in working groups to hammer out issues with the existing agreement.
But the White House and Office of the U.S. Trade Representative disagree over how aggressive a strategy to pursue in getting the deal through Congress, a senior administration official and a senior GOP aide said. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short want to pressure majority House Democrats with a deadline so they cannot run out the clock on ratifying the deal. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has suggested giving Democrats more time to consider it.
Despite those differences, the White House and USTR agree the Trump administration needs a more concerted effort to sell the deal to members of Congress unsure about supporting it.
The administration could have some breathing room in getting the trade deal approved. Congress is expected to be in session in September to resolve budget issues before the end of the fiscal year.
Previously, many lawmakers were expected to leave Washington to hit the campaign trail in September.