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2 March 2009

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© 2009 RedAlert.WND.com

Funding may end Bush administration demonstration project

Democrats in Congress appear to be moving toward a carefully worded ban that would shut down the Bush administration demonstration project allowing 100 Mexican trucking companies to run long-haul rigs throughout the nation, in direct competition with U.S. truckers.

The issue has been rancorous over the past two years as Bush administration Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters has fought off repeated efforts by Congress to confine Mexican trucks to a narrow 20-mile commercial area north of the southern border.

In what appears to be a major victory for Teamster boss James Hoffa, the Obama administration is working closely with Senate Democrats, including Sen. Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, to toughen up language of an amendment Dorgan successfully had inserted in the DOT fiscal year 2008 appropriations bill.

Toughening the language in this year's appropriation bill to keep Mexican trucks south of the border appears to be one of the Obama administration's clear efforts to reverse the Bush administration project in ways that reward organized labor for their support of candidate Obama's presidential campaign last year.

The move comes as a blow to "free trade" advocates in the Republican Party who have pushed for new ways to open the Mexican border and increase opportunities for trade between the two countries.

"Shutting down the border is the right thing to do," Hoffa said in a press release. "There is no guarantee that trucks or drivers from Mexico are safe. Until there is, dangerous Mexican trucks should not be allowed to drive freely on our highways."

The contention of opponents to the Mexican truck demonstration project has been that Mexican trucks and truck drivers do not reliably meet U.S. standards.

As WND reported, in a contentious Senate hearing last March, Dorgan got Peters to admit that Mexican driers were being designated at the border as "proficient in English" even though they could explain U.S. traffic signs only in Spanish.

In the tense hearing, Dorgan accused Peters of being "arrogant" and in reckless disregard of a congressional vote to stop the Mexican trucking demonstration project by taking funds away.

As WND reported, opposition in the House was led by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore, who in Sept. 2007, accused the Bush administration of having a "stealth plan" to allow Mexican long-haul rigs on U.S. roads.

"This administration [of President George W. Bush] is hell-bent on opening our borders," DeFazio said, "but has failed to require that Mexican drivers and trucks meet the same safety and security standards as U.S. drivers and trucks."

Previously, Peters had argued the wording of the Dorgan amendment did not prohibit the Transportation Department from stopping a Mexican truck demonstration project that DOT has already begun, even if the measure prohibited DOT from starting any new Mexican truck demonstration project.

Section 136 of the Obama administration's omnibus appropriations bill's transportation more clearly bill states, "None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available under this Act may be used, directly or indirectly, to establish, continue, promote, or in any way permit a cross-border motor carrier demonstration program to allow Mexican-domiciled motor carriers to operate beyond the commercial zones along the international border between the United States and Mexico."

Despite strong congressional opposition, the Department of Transportation under President Bush had announced a plan to extend the Mexican truck demonstration project for another two years, in an attempt to force the incoming Obama administration to comply with a departmental decision that had been finalized before Obama Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood took office.

About Dr. Jerome R. Corsi:

Jerome R. Corsi is a staff reporter for WND. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard University in political science in 1972 and has written many books and articles, including his best-sellers "The Obama Nation" and "The Late Great USA." Other books include "Showdown with Nuclear Iran," "Black Gold Stranglehold: The Myth of Scarcity and the Politics of Oil," which he co-authored with WND columnist Craig. R. Smith, and "Atomic Iran."

About Red Alert:

Jerome Corsi's RED ALERT is your weekly, global financial strategies newsletter. Designed to be your guide to economic trends in the best of times and the worst of times, it is edited by New York Times best-selling author Jerome Corsi, a WND staff writer and columnist. For 25 years, Corsi worked with banks throughout the U.S. and the world developing financial services marketing companies to assist banks in establishing broker/dealers and insurance subsidiaries to provide financial planning products and services to their retail customers. Corsi developed three third-party financial services marketing firms that reached annual gross sales levels of $1 billion in annuities and equal volume in mutual funds. Corsi received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University in 1972.


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