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North American trade deal must change to pass Congress, Democrat Bill Pascrell says

Key Points
  • The agreement needs changes if House Democrats are going to pass the deal, Rep. Bill Pascrell said.
  • Pascrell has been a vocal critic of Trump's North American trade deal.
From left, Reps. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, Nanette Barragan, D-Calif., and Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., descend the House Steps of the Capitol after a vote on May 3, 2017.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images

President Donald Trump's trade deal with Canada and Mexico can't pass Congress in its current state, Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., said on Wednesday, according to Bloomberg News.

The agreement needs changes not only "in the legislation but more enforcement" if House Democrats are going to pass the deal, Pascrell said.

Pascrell softened his tone in a statement to CNBC:

"I continue to review the USMCA and consult with stakeholders. I and many of my colleagues have called for higher standards in a revised NAFTA, or USMCA. A continuing concern remains stronger enforcement mechanisms, particularly in the areas of labor and the environment. These concerns are neither new nor novel."

Pascrell has been a vocal critic of Trump's trade deal, known as the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, or USMCA, which is intended to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. In line to become chair of the Ways and Means trade subcommittee, Pascrell has been one of the members most willing to directly challenge Trump's executive powers on trade and tariffs.

The expected leader of the Ways and Means committee, Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., was also a vocal opponent of the original NAFTA deal in 1994. Neal has also said that the USMCA deal has a very high bar set to pass Congress.

Pascrell and Neal did not immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

— CNBC's Ylan Mui contributed to this report.

Read the full story from Bloomberg here.