SPECIAL REPORT: House OKs measure to cut cross-border funding

| 7/25/2007

Wednesday, July 25, 2007 – An amendment cutting off all funding for any sort of cross-border program with Mexican motor carriers passed the House Tuesday, July 24, as part of the 2008 transportation appropriations bill.

On Monday, July 23, members of the House began consideration of HR3074, the Transportation-HUD appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008.

Tuesday, during its second day of consideration, Reps. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, Duncan Hunter, R-CA, Gary Miller, R-CA, and Nancy Boyda, D-KS, introduced an amendment to the legislation calling for a stop of all funding for cross-border trucking programs with Mexico.

Several members of the House voiced their strong support of the amendment.

“This is a tremendous step toward protecting the motoring public,” DeFazio said in introducing the amendment. “It will move us away from a ‘faith-based’ program.”

In a short statement of support, Hunter pointed out the proposed program poses a security risk to the United States.

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-OH, highlighted Hunter’s point when she told lawmakers about Mexican trucks actually making it all the way to Ohio – well outside the border zone – where the truckers were driving their rigs with “vice-grips.”

“We need to fix the problem we have today,” she said. “That border is a sieve.”

The amendment was added to HR3074 on a voice vote. The full bill passed the House late Tuesday with a vote of 268-153.

The amendment states that “none of the funds made available under this act may be used to establish or implement a cross-border motor carrier demonstration or pilot project or program to allow Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate beyond the commercial zones on the United States-Mexico border.”

The Senate version of the transportation appropriations legislation more than likely will be considered after the August recess. Once the Senate passes its appropriations legislation, the two chambers will appoint delegates to hammer out the differences in conference committee.

– By Jami Jones, senior editor