Tester Seeks To End Vaccination Mandate For Truck Drivers
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., continued his push to fully reopen the northern border last week by urging the Biden Administration to end the vaccination mandate for truck drivers from Canada and other travelers entering into the United States after reports indicated that Canada is planning to terminate its vaccination requirements for foreign travelers entering its borders as early as this month.
â€śTruck drivers and the goods they transport are the lifeblood of our economy. This is especially true in northern border states, like Montana, that have a special trading relationship with Canada,â€ť wrote Tester to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. â€śFertilizer, hay, and other agricultural products from Canada are critical for farmers and ranchers in Montana and across America. Vaccine mandates for truck drivers, along with reduced hours at ports of entry, longer drive times, and a shortage of truck drivers are making it harder and more expensive for American farmers and ranchers to get the products they need.
Tester concluded: â€śI urge [the Department of Homeland Security] to end the vaccine mandate for truck drivers and other travelers entering the United States, and to work with Canadian officials to end all mandates in a coordinated fashion.â€ť
Tester has been Montanaâ€™s leading champion to reopen the northern border and ensure U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents have the resources they need to secure the border and protect Montana communities. Earlier this year, Tester pushed Secretary Mayorkas to end the vaccination requirements and reopen all land ports of entry along the U.S.-Canada border to pre-pandemic hours. Tester and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) led a bipartisan group of senators in urging the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Committee to provide CBP with the necessary resources to properly staff and secure the U.S.-Canada border in Fiscal Year 2023.
In May, Tester grilled Secretary Mayorkas about the Departmentâ€™s plans for retaining CBP agents, securing the northern border, and restoring U.S.-Canada points of entry to pre-pandemic operating times.
Tester first called for the northern border to fully reopen in May 2021, urging the Biden Administration to work with Canadian officials to swiftly and safely open the border. He followed up with a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas pressing the Administration to move forward with the Canadian reopening in a â€śsafe, fair, and efficient manner.â€ť In November, the Biden Administration heeded Testerâ€™s call and reopened the border to vaccinated travelers.
Montana shares a 545 mile border with Canada and is home to many border towns whose economies rely on Canadian trade and commerce. According to the Canadian Trade Commissioner, Canada is Montanaâ€™s top international trading partner, buying more from the state than the next six states combined. Reports by the U.S. Trade Representative estimate that Montana exported $692 million in goods to Canada is 2018, representing 42 percent of the stateâ€™s total goods exports.