Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hot Air reports that the US Senate has voted 74-24 to put the brakes on a program that would have allowed Mexican truck companies the unrestricted ability to drive around within the US. This amendment was sponsored by Byron Dorgan (D-ND). A similar measure (H.AMDT.624, sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio [D-OR]) passed the House on a voice vote in July. * Bush has threatened to veto the overall transportation bill. Some more details (e.a.):

The 75-23 vote to bar the Department of Transportation from spending tax dollars on the project as part of a transportation funding bill increases the chances – but does not guarantee – that Congress will shut down the initiative.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration last Thursday began the program, which allows up to 100 Mexican carriers to send trucks throughout the United States.

While it appears likely the prohibition will survive in the final spending bill sent to President Bush, he has said he will veto the bill. That raises doubts about whether the effort to bar funding for the pilot program will succeed.

The initiative paves the way for pre-approved Mexican trucks to make deliveries anywhere in the United States, something that has not been widely permitted since 1982. U.S. trucks also are allowed to travel in Mexico under the arrangement.

The overall Transportation bill (H. R. 3074) passed the House 268-153. It is still being considered by the Senate.
WaPo has more--and considers some of the NAFTA implications of this measure.

*CORRECTION: I originally had details about a different amendment sponsored by Duncan Hunter. Apologies.

UPDATE: Before voting to stop funding for this program, the House had also voted 411-3 to extend this pilot program and set more standards for it:
In May, the House voted overwhelmingly, 411-3, to pass H.R. 1773, the Safe American Roads Act of 2007, legislation which would extend the pilot program to three years and ensure that DOT establishes a process to analyze the impact of allowing Mexican trucks on our nation's roadways, before the border is completely opened. Provisions were also included in the FY 2007 Iraq War Supplemental spending bill to impose strict measures to ensure that the pilot program adheres to safety and security guidelines and that its progress is assessed by an independent panel.