SPECIAL REPORT: Provision to limit cross-border program still alive

| 5/10/2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007 – Despite the fact that a U.S. House of Representatives rewrite of a war supplemental spending bill won’t get very far, a provision limiting the Bush administration’s cross-border program remains intact.

On May 1, President George W. Bush vetoed Congress’s first supplemental spending bill, which contained a withdrawal deadline for troops in Iraq.

The veto sent Congress back to the drawing board to find bill language the president would sign.

The new version of the supplemental spending bill still includes a provision limiting the cross-border pilot program.

The provision would restrict spending any money on allowing Mexican motor carriers to operate beyond the border zone until three conditions are met. Those conditions are:

  • Granting such authority must first be tested as part of a pilot program;
  • The pilot program must comply with the requirements of Section 350 of the 2002 appropriations legislation and the requirements of Section 31315(c) of Title 49, U.S. Code, related to the pilot programs; and
  • Simultaneous and comparable authority to operate within Mexico is made available to motor carriers domiciled in the United States.

The cross-border provision is Section 5901 in the new supplemental bill.

Unfortunately, Section 5901 is facing an uphill challenge, because of other language contained in the bill.

The Democrats in the House, in an apparent move to play hardball, have crafted a new version of the supplemental spending bill that includes a deadline of July 13 for the president to submit a report to Congress on the progress of the war in Iraq. The bill allows Congress to withhold funding if the president fails to submit a report.

The president has already announced his intention to veto the new bill, according to The Associated Press.

However, the chances of the bill making it to the president are slim. House Republicans are not supportive of the bill and the odds of its passage in the Senate are poor, according to The AP.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor