The International Brotherhood of Teamsters said it supports a bill that was passed unanimously Wednesday by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee that would force Mexican trucks to meet safety and security standards
before they're allowed to travel beyond the narrow border zone.
The measure, sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., toughens the safety reporting and evaluation requirements for the pilot program announced by the Bush administration on Feb. 23. It compels the Transportation Department to extend it for three years before throwing open the borders to unfettered truck travel deep into the United States.
"The pilot program described yesterday by Transportation Secretary Mary Peters has holes in it you could drive a truck through," said Teamsters President Jim Hoffa. "Nowhere does the Bush administration state that every truck must be physically inspected before being allowed to travel freely throughout the U.S. Nowhere does it describe what criteria will be used to judge the program a failure or a success.
"We've been saying all along that this is an extremely unpopular program, and the fact that every Democrat and Republican present on the Transportation Committee voted for this bill proves it," Hoffa said.
The Teamsters, along with several other groups, filed suit last month to block the Bush administration's effort to implement a 2001 NAFTA order.
The DeFazio bill is a substitute for a measure sponsored by Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., which the Teamsters also supported.