Trump Urges Quick NAFTA Resolution in Talks with Trudeau
U.S. President Donald Trump urged for a quick conclusion to a renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement during a phone call Monday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
The White House said Trump "underscored the importance" of quickly reaching a deal, while Trudeau’s office said the two spoke of the "possibility of bringing the negotiations to a prompt conclusion."
The talks have come under increased pressure to quickly produce a deal after U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said this week he would need to be notified of a new agreement by May 17 to give the current Congress a chance to pass it this year.
Canada, the United States and Mexico are renegotiating their 24-year-old free trade pact in a process triggered by the Trump administration. Trump has been highly critical of the 1994 deal, blaming it for the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs that hurt the U.S. economy.
He has repeatedly threatened to leave the pact if a satisfactory updated agreement is not reached.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said on Monday that none of the contentious issues the three countries have been discussing appear to have been resolved. Ross, who is not directly involved in the NAFTA talks, told reporters in Washington Monday that the big issues are still a "work in progress."
Last week, the latest round of NAFTA talks ended in Washington without any major breakthroughs on how to renegotiate the deal. Those talks were the first to involve all three of the top officials in the negotiations — U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo.
After 50 Years, Protesters Revive King's Fight Against Poverty
Thousands of poor, low-wage workers, activists and religious leaders across the United States have kicked off a revival of the Poor People's Campaign, a civil disobedience movement founded 50 years ago by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
The 2018 campaign will involve 40 days of protests and action at more than 30 state capitals and Washington, D.C., aimed at relaunching a fight against poverty, war and income inequality that first took root half a century ago.
In 1968, King created a multicultural, multifaith coalition after witnessing hunger in the rural town of Marks, Mississippi. He envisioned a march of the poor, descending on the nation's capital to demand better living conditions and higher wages.
On May 13, 1968, more than 100 people departed Marks in covered wagons pulled by mules. Black-and-white photos show covered wagons with slogans painted on their canvas tops: "Feed the Poor,'' "Injustice is a Sin in the Sight of God'' and "Which is Better? Send Man to Moon or Feed Him on Earth.''
Organizers of the new Poor People's Campaign say King's vision has yet to be realized.
They are calling for a list of demands, including changes to federal and state living wage laws that are "commensurate for the 21st century economy," a reinvestment in public housing, a repeal to the 2017 GOP-led tax plan, an end to America's militarism, reallocation of "resources from the military budget to education, health care, jobs and green infrastructure needs," and eradicating systemic racism.
According to the U.S. Census, there are nearly 41 million people living in poverty, although activists say the actual number is likely much higher. The federal poverty level in 2018 is considered $25,001 annually for a family of four.