Friday, May 13, 2011

Lawmakers need some serious cover fire

Stopping a cross-border trucking program isn’t insurmountable. With the help of OOIDA members and other highway users, the Association has successfully fought off opening the border to long-haul trucks from Mexico for more than a decade.

Through the course of that battle, we’ve learned one thing: Those wanting to open the border are well-funded and aren’t giving up.

Make no mistake. This is the most aggressive push from big business thus far.

This attempt by the Department of Transportation to open the border to long-haul trucks from Mexico is being pushed hard by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other big business interests. Of course, it’s not being sold like that.

Instead, they are wrapping their message around the feel-good position of saving U.S. jobs. A recent ad in Roll Call Magazine, a publication targeting federal lawmakers, pushes lawmakers to open the border. The ad is purportedly by a coalition concerned about U.S. jobs. Interestingly, if you want to get in touch with the group, it’s through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That’s not a group whose main objective is to keep jobs in the states.

This proposed cross-border program is even more threatening than the previous program. The administration fully intends to grant permanent operating authority to motor carriers from Mexico after 18 months of operating in the U.S. That authority cannot be revoked if the pilot program is killed.

Overwhelmingly, lawmakers are not for opening the border. The only problem is that with all of the pressure being put on them by big business, they need some cover. They need a reason to say “no.”

That’s exactly what OOIDA members can provide – cover for lawmakers. They know what the right thing to do is, but they need you to build their case for why they must vote “no.”

We know every reason by heart why the border should not be opened to long-haul trucks from Mexico.

Lawmakers need to hear again about every regulation you comply with, and point to Mexico’s nonexistent regulatory system. Remind them that the cartels will target trucks heading into the U.S. even more than they do now.

They may know all of this, but they have to hear it again and again. Otherwise, big business and their pressure may win out with a “yes” vote.

While you’re at it, you might toss in that you really are all about protecting U.S. jobs, especially your own.