Debate and negotiations are continuing, but this afternoon the Senate voted 70-30 in favor of an amendment that requires the U.S. Department of Transportation to conduct an on-site compliance review of each Mexican company that wants access to the U.S.
Administration officials, and their allies in the Senate, including Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., had argued that the plan is too stringent and violates terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
But the Senate voted with the provision’s sponsors, Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala.
“All we are saying (in the amendment) is that the level of safety should be equal on either side of the border,” Sen. Murray said in remarks on the Senate floor this afternoon.
As the afternoon wears on, opponents continue to resist. Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, offered an amendment that says the Murray-Shelby provisions would be binding unless President Bush finds they violate NAFTA. Gramm was not optimistic, however. He said he did not expect his measure to be adopted but vowed to continue the fight against the Murray-Shelby provision.