December 13, 2017 6:02 pm

Roy Moore loss in Alabama fuels faint hope that Republicans might support NAFTA

WATCH: President Donald Trump met with House and Senate tax conferees over lunch Wednesday to discuss progress on tax reform. At a meeting he reacted to the loss of Roy Moore, the candidate he endorsed, in the Alabama Senate election.

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The scandal-tinged defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama’s special Senate election is raising faint hopes that it might embolden some decidedly reluctant Republicans to speak out in support of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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Notwithstanding a series of explosive sexual misconduct allegations, Moore had the strong backing of U.S. President Donald Trump, but still lost to Democrat Doug Jones – the first time that party won a seat in Alabama in a quarter century.

READ MORE: Analysis: Donald Trump suffers stinging defeat with bet on Roy Moore

Despite Moore’s obvious flaws, his defeat has also been widely seen as a repudiation of Trump’s agenda, which includes tearing up NAFTA if he can’t wring concessions out of Canada and Mexico.

The Trudeau Liberals have been mounting a full-court press to win support for NAFTA in the U.S., not just in Congress but among businesses as well as state and local governments.

U.S. business groups, including its Chamber of Commerce, have loudly defended NAFTA and urged Trump not to announce a U.S. withdrawal next year.

But the response from American lawmakers has been tepid at best. Capitol Hill is seized with tax reform, and some Republicans don’t want to ignite a war with their hair-trigger, Twitter-friendly president or risk offending Trump supporters in their core base.

© 2017 The Canadian Press

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