Bush Sides With Mexican Truckers
President defies wishes of majority of Congress,American people
PRESIDENT BUSH IS ALLOWING Mexican truckers to roam freely throughout the United States, with sleepy drivers, bad brakes and thin tires, in defiance of a new law passed by Congress.
The decision to proceed with the four-month-old unlimited access program came despite language in a recently passed catch-all bill intended to ban the trucks.
The Department of Transportation is taking advantage of a loophole which provides no enforcement money. So the DOT has taken the position that, if you lack the funds to make us follow the law, we will disobey the law.
Obviously, it costs nothing to tell the Mexicans to stay inside the long-established narrow limits within the U.S. border.
The provision in the law signed by President Bush says: “None of the funds made available under this act may be used to establish a cross-border motor carrier demonstration program to allow Mexico-domiciled motor carriers to operate beyond the commercial zones along the international border between the United States and Mexico.”
“They know what the law says,” said Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.), who won a 74-24 vote to block the program. “And they’re not above the law.”
The program rejected by Congress but implemented by Mr. Bush is opposed by labor unions, independent truck owners and environmental groups. It allows 500 trucks from 100 Mexican motor carriers full access to American roads. The trucks could be driven by terrorists and the cargo could include nuclear weapons.
Opponents have been fighting the program since it was proposed as part of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, arguing it will erode safety and eliminate U.S. jobs. They argue that insufficient safeguards exist to make sure Mexican trucks are safe.
“When you open up U.S. highways to long-haul Mexican trucks without equivalent safety standards, it poses risks for American drivers [and pedestrians],” Dorgan said.
(Issue #3, January 21, 2008)