Amendment delaying entry of Mexican trucks faces veto

| 3/27/2007

A bill that includes a provision to delay the Mexican motor carrier "pilot project" already faces a presidential veto - and it hasn't even passed the Senate yet.

The amendment to delay the opening of the U.S.-Mexico border to 100 Mexican motor carriers - with an unlimited number of trucks - was included in the supplemental appropriations bill that was approved by the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on March 22.

While the bill is currently being debated by the Senate, the White House issued a "Statement of Administrative Policy" threatening to veto the bill if it makes it to the president as-is.

"Because of the excessive and extraneous non-emergency spending it contains, if this legislation were presented to the president, he would veto the bill," White House staff pointed out in the statement.

While there were numerous other amendments attached to the supplemental appropriations bill, the amendment to delay the opening of the border was one of the amendments specifically addressed by the White House staff in the statement.

"The administration strongly objects to language intended to block the implementation of cross-border trucking provisions as required under NAFTA. Since 1995, the federal government has spent over half a billion dollars, primarily in hiring safety inspectors and building inspection facilities along the border that will ensure that implementation can be carried out safely and consistent with Congressional direction," staffers wrote in the statement.

"The failure to implement this international obligation would hurt American shippers, consumers and long-haul truckers."

That argument doesn't hold water with the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association - a strong supporter of the amendment.

"Furthering a misguided international obligation is hardly justification for ignoring the very valid safety and security concerns that opening our border presents," said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president.

"That flawed logic makes it all the more important to communicate your support of this amendment to your senators immediately."

 - By Jami Jones, senior editor