Washington Insider
Bush White House desperate to extort last-minute influence

By Mike Joyce
Senior Government Affairs Representative

The end of the Bush administration is in sight. For some, this statement will be greeted with tears of joy. For others, simply with tears.

So, how do we know the end is near? Not just by looking at the calendar and counting down the days between now and the next election.

We know the end is near because of the actions this administration is taking in a desperate attempt to put its stamp on future policy, administrations and Congresses.

Up through the morning of Jan. 20, 2009, when the next president of the United States is sworn into office on the west front steps of the U.S. Capitol, every political appointee of the Bush administration will work diligently to influence every policy, regulation and action of each department and agency of the federal government.

Is this a bad thing? Some will say “yes,” and some “no.” Does this happen toward the end of every administration? Yes!

On two particular issues, OOIDA has taken a strong stand in opposition to the Bush administration’s efforts. Those issues are the use of public-private partnerships to fund our future highway infrastructure needs, and the Mexican truck pilot program that, if implemented, would allow Mexican carriers onto U.S. highways.

We disagree with Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, an agent for the president, on her very active and aggressive promotion of public-private partnerships as the end-all, be-all solution to funding our future highway infrastructure needs.

Essentially, the secretary supports the devolution, or the removal of the federal government’s role and responsibility in supporting a robust infrastructure; infrastructure that allows our country to be a leader in the global marketplace.

We would like to see the DOT take a broad look at highway financing and funding, beginning with a thorough look in its own back yard as to how resources are being allocated.

As highway users, OOIDA members expect elected officials and their political appointees to be responsible with the hard-earned tax dollars paid to the government.

OOIDA has also been a very vocal opponent of the administration’s bold push to allow Mexican motor carriers the ability to operate in the United States.

Certainly we feel as though the administration is going the wrong way on a one-way street. And in this instance, you can see the push by the administration to implement this program with initiatives rooted in rhetoric versus fact.

So, when it looks like all the cards in the deck are stacked against us on these “end-of-an-administration” policy prerogatives, why do we move forward?

Easy. We move forward because of the strong support of the 152,000 members of OOIDA.

OOIDA’s members are very hard-working men and women, and are the backbone of the economy of our country. Your views should, and must, be reflected in related policy priorities driven by this, and any future administration.

Policymakers should take note – OOIDA is here to stay, and ready to get down to business.