House Votes to End Cross-Border Program With Mexico

Jami Jones, Land Line Magazine, September 10, 2008

Once again, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly has voted to put an end to the cross-border trucking program with Mexico.

The members of the House voted 395-18 late Tuesday to end the yearlong program that has allowed Mexican motor carriers full access to the U.S.

In the day leading up the vote, opposition to the bill came from very high up—the top in fact. The office of the president issued a Statement of Administrative Policy that basically told lawmakers that if the bill passed and eventually made its way to the president’s desk for a signature—he would veto it.

Apparently, not deterred by the threat, the measure passed the House with far more than a two-thirds majority, the majority needed to override a veto.

The bill passed by the House—HR6630—not only calls for the program to end on its one-year anniversary, but also restricts the administration from launching any more cross-border programs without the approval of Congress.

The bipartisan bill was introduced in late July by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-OR, and co-sponsors Rep. James Oberstar, D-MN, Rep. John J. Duncan Jr., R-TN, and Rep. John Mica, R-FL.

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HR6630 moved through the House of Representatives at lightning speed. It took only 12 days in session to be passed from the time it was introduced.

DeFazio introduced the bill on July 29. The House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed it two days later—teeing the bill up for consideration by the full house when members returned from the recess on Sept. 8. The passage of the bill happened just two days after members of the House returned from recess.

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The bill calls for the ongoing cross-border trucking program with Mexico to end no later than Sept. 6, 2008—one year to the day after the program was launched by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

As a first matter of business, the bill mandates an end to the current demonstration project. But, in a move to prevent any other programs from cropping up, the bill also seeks to restrict the U.S. Department of Transportation from granting authority to any more Mexico-based motor carriers to operate beyond the commercial zone after Sept. 6.

The bill goes far beyond just seeking an end to the current program and preventing a new one from starting up. DeFazio and the other co-sponsors obviously want to know the real impact of the program. The bill mandates a couple of reports dissecting the goings-on in the program.

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