On today’s House suspension calendar is H.R. 6630, “To prohibit the Secretary of Transportation from granting authority to a motor carrier domiciled in Mexico to operate beyond United States municipalities and commercial zones on the United States-Mexico border unless expressly authorized by Congress.”
Introduced right before the August recess and rushed to the floor for action, this bill would terminate the one-year pilot program for cross-border trucking with Mexico and abrogate the other related trucking provisions of the North American Free Trade Act approved by Congress. In the wake of the House leadership’s decision to blow up long-established rules for consideration of free trade agreements, this measure would affirm the United States’ new status as an untrustworthy negotiating partner.
One assumes it’s a political move, since its presence on the suspension calendar means a two-thirds vote is required for passage, Senate action is unlikely, and the President would surely veto the measure.
So given its ultimate failure, it’s only real effect is to say to U.S. negotiating and trading partners, “Ha. You didn’t really believe us, did you? Suckers.”
Background follows, with the focus on safety and the clear economic benefits of the cross-border program for manufacturing and agriculture. As NAM President John Engler explained at a March news conference at DOT: “U.S. foreign direct investment in Mexico totals more than $84 billion. For manufacturers, much of this foreign direct investment represents integrated, cross-border production.”
- NAM statement on launching of pilot program (September 7, 2007)
- Transportation Secretary Peters’ remarks at a DOT news conference (March 10, 2008)
- American Farm Bureau release, “$2 Billion at Stake for U.S. Ag in Trucking Dispute” (March 10, 2008)
- Riverside Press-Enterprise story, “House to vote on effort to halt NAFTA-related cross-border trucking program.” (September 9, 2008)
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