MISSOULA — A group of US Senators, including Steve Daines of Montana, are pushing back on federal vaccine rules which they fear will have a chilling impact on cross-border truck traffic between the U.S. and Canada.
Trucking industry groups have been complaining for weeks that the vaccination mandates from the Department of Homeland Security, due to take effect in January, could cripple cross-border trade.
The Canadian Trucking Alliance said in November that 18% of that country's drivers won't be able to cross if they are no longer exempt as "essential travelers". Additionally, the American Trucking Association has estimated 37% of domestic drivers could also be stopped without the exemption.
The US Department of Labor had earlier clarified the mandate, saying it wouldn't apply in some cases, such as for drivers operating on their own. The Biden Administration has also said it is working with businesses in advance of a January compliance deadline.
However, Daines and his colleagues are worried "any disruptions to the continuity of U.S.-Canada trade would likely have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond our shared border."
The senators note in the letter sent to the Administration Friday morning there are "approximately 14,000 total truck entries" along the border every day, "hauling more than $846-million of goods."
Others signing the letter included South Dakota Senator John Thune, North Dakota senators Kevin Cramer and John Hoeven and Idaho senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch.