Labor Day Message to Congress: Stop Bush's Illegal Plan

In a matter of days the Bush administration is going to illegally open our highways to unsafe Mexican trucks.

And though the Department of Transportation says it will inspect every truck, the fact of the matter is it can’t. Sure, they are starting the so-called pilot program with 151 cherry-picked trucks and even the DOT can manage to conduct that few inspections. But in a year when the Bush administration calls the so-called pilot program a “success

There are no hours-of-service rules for Mexican drivers and, according to the DOT Inspector General, not one adequate drug testing facility in Mexico.

The Bush administration wanted to open the border while you were on recess -- during Labor Day weekend no less. They figured you weren’t going to be paying attention. Together with the Sierra Club and Public Citizen, the Teamsters sued to stop the DOT from moving forward. While our emergency stay was denied, our lawsuit will continue to move forward and we were able to smoke out the administration’s plan, and force the DOT to delay opening the border for a few more days.

Now it is up to Congress. Are you going to stand idly by while the Bush administration once again ignores the will of Congress? Or will you stand up and tell the President that enough is enough?

To quote Rep. Nancy Boyda (D-Kansas):

"Congress has been crystal clear in our opposition to the administration's cross-border pilot program. Twice now, we've passed bills that restrict commercial traffic from Mexico until the Department of Transportation meets high standards of safety and accountability.

"Those standards have not been met, but the executive branch is moving full speed ahead anyway. Their plan breaks the law and undermines the safety of our highways, and I hope they'll be held accountable in a court of law.

"This is not a partisan issue. My Safe American Roads Act passed the House by an overwhelming, bipartisan, 411-3 margin. Democrats and Republicans are united in protecting America's highways. Only the White House seems out of the loop."

Said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): "Whether it’s product safety, food safety, or road safety, you can count on the Bush Administration to compromise it … Congress asked the administration to use caution. Now the administration is running a red light."

Rep. Walter B. Jones (R-N.C.):

“This program not only poses a serious threat to our national security and the safety of American drivers, it also endangers American jobs and our economy. Before the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), our nation ran a trade surplus with Mexico. Now, the U.S. runs a $64 billion annual trade deficit with Mexico. This program will only expand that deficit.

“And what do we have to blame for this? -- NAFTA. Everyone should know that the reason we’re here today is because in 2001 Mexico sued the U.S. in a World Trade Organization tribunal created by NAFTA. That tribunal ruled in Mexico’s favor saying that under NAFTA, the United States could not prevent Mexican trucks from entering America. That’s why I’ve opposed NAFTA, CAFTA and other poorly-negotiated trade agreements. These agreements strip away American sovereignty, preventing states like North Carolina from determining whether or not they will allow potentially unsafe Mexican trucks to travel their roads.

“Given America’s concerns with the entry of illegal drugs (and) terrorists…across our weakly defended borders, it’s incomprehensible that our nation would allow Mexican trucks to have unfettered access to our country. For the sake of our national security and the safety of our citizens, I strongly urge the Administration to find a way to put a stop to this program.