Legislation would support critical transportation operators, ease supply chain bottlenecks

U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced the Continuing Safe Essential Travel Across our Border Act to prohibit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from requiring critical infrastructure workers embarking on essential travel to the United States from either Canada or Mexico to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

“American families are feeling pain in President Biden’s economy,” Senator Wicker said. “Limiting the movement of goods across our borders through a federal vaccine mandate is totally unnecessary and counterproductive to getting our economy back on track. I joined Senator Daines on this important legislation to end the Administration’s unhelpful restriction and provide some relief to our truck drivers who are essential to the supply chain and our economy.”

The legislation follows an earlier letter from Senator Daines and Senator Wicker urging the Biden Administration to reverse vaccine mandates for truckers crossing the northern border of the U.S.

The Senators wrote that since the onset of the pandemic, drivers have traveled the vast expanses of the U.S. and Canada safely, with a low COVID-19 transmission rate, due to the fact that commercial truck drivers spend the majority of their workday alone in the cab and outside.

“Trucking is the largest mode of surface trade with Canada; every day, there are approximately 14,000 total truck entries along the U.S.-Canada border hauling more than $846 million of goods. Any disruptions to the continuity of U.S.-Canada trade would likely have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond our shared border,” the Senators had written.

“…we fear that the imposition of vaccination mandates as a requirement to cross the land border will exacerbate the existing challenges facing our freight networks and supply chain, and could further fuel inflation and rising prices on top of what Americans are already seeing. Our nation’s truck drivers worked diligently during the pandemic to facilitate critical cross-border freight movements that helped to feed and clothe American communities. Now, implementing these policies could cost them their jobs,” the Senators continued.