On Trucks and Trade, Senate Vote Looks Feckless

By September 12, 2007Trade

The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to prohibit the Department of Transportation from spending any money for a pilot project to allow SAFE trucks from Mexico to transport goods on U.S. highways. The amendment, sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), was trumpeted as a safety measure, but in reality it was made a priority by organized labor hiding behind consumer activist groups. Labor opposes any challenge to their monopolistic stranglehood on trucking, that is, any competition, and will engage in the most outlandish campaigns to win the day.

(The example that supporters of the bill used to argue that Mexican trucks aren’t safe was an accident in MEXICO involving a truck carrying dynamite. “While this program would not allow Mexican trucks to transport hazardous materials inside the United States…” acknowledged Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). Yes, and so?)

Congress should be making policy based on U.S. interests, absolutely. They’re not there to serve Mexico. But it makes the U.S. look dishonest and untrustworthy to negotiate a free-trade agreement (NAFTA), enact it, and then have Congress pass a law to thwart a major provision of it. For some anti-trade Senators like Dorgan, that’s not a concern, but there were a lot of putative free-trade supporters who joined the 74 yea votes yesterday.

Meanwhile, U.S. consumers and businesses lose out on the benefits of more competition in trucking. More expensive products is the result.

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  • Campbell says:

    U.S. consumers are losing big time because of these shady NAFTA deals. There is a 7% surplus of qualified American truck drivers waiting for work. No American would ever benefit from long haul Mexican trucks. Bush got b**** slapped again by the American people who have had enough of open borders and corrupt trade deals. Its time to clean house.

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