Truckers Act would grant drivers cross-border vaccine exemption

February 22, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., introduced legislation that would exempt foreign truck drivers from the cross-border COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The Terminating Reckless and Unnecessary Checks Known to Erode Regular Shipping (Truckers) Act, would exempt non-U.S. citizen commercial truck drivers traveling from Canada or Mexico who are seeking to temporarily enter the United States for business through a land port of entry from proof of vaccination requirements.

The bill, S3701, has already picked up eight Republic co-sponsors in Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.), Mike Braun (Ind.), Kevin Cramer (N.D.), Josh Hawley (Mo.), John Hoeven (N.D.), Mike Lee (Utah), Roger Marshall (Kan.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.). Congressman Carlos Giménez is expected to introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives this week.

“Truck drivers are the backbone of America’s economy,” Scott said in a news release. “My dad was a truck driver, and I know firsthand how critical these men and women are to getting products flowing to American families and businesses again. President Biden’s inflation and supply chain crises are devastating so many Americans, especially our poorest families like mine growing up. By pushing these ridiculous mandates, he is only making things worse.”

The United States and Canada each have mandates blocking unvaccinated foreign nationals, including truck drivers, from crossing the border. Canada’s mandate went into effect Jan. 15. The U.S. mandate started Jan. 22.

“The government has no business pushing mandates on families and our hardworking businesses, and my Truckers Act will help stop this nonsense in its tracks,” Scott said. “I also urge Canada’s government to drop its ridiculous mandates on foreign drivers. I hope all of my colleagues will work with us to quickly pass this good and urgently needed bill.”

Scott’s bill is the latest example of an increased push for a trucker exemption to the mandate.

Last week, Rep. Matt Rosendale, R-Mont., drafted a letter to President Biden and encouraged his colleagues to sign on. The Feb. 17 letter, which also was supported by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and the American Trucking Associations, included signatures from 64 members of Congress.

On Feb. 16, a group of U.S. governors and Canadian premiers wrote to Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, asking them to remove the mandate for truckers.

Earlier this month, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association wrote separate letters to Biden and Trudeau, encouraging an exemption.

OOIDA also is showing its support for the Truckers Act.

“We thank Sen. Scott for leading this important effort to reverse an arbitrary mandate that has slowed the movement of freight across our borders and made the already difficult job of trucking even more challenging,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said in a news release. “Truckers are essential workers, and federal policies should reflect the critical role they play in our daily lives. We applaud Sen. Scott and his colleagues for introducing legislation to end this unnecessary and intrusive requirement.” LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.