Reverse Vaccine Mandate for Truckers Crossing US-Canada Border: Senate GOP to Biden

By Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord is a Congressional reporter for The Epoch Times who focuses on the Democrats. He got his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Clemson University and was a scholar in the Lyceum Program.
December 14, 2021 Updated: December 14, 2021

Senate Republicans are calling on President Joe Biden to reverse a requirement mandating that truckers crossing from the United States into Canada be vaccinated, warning that the rule could hurt commerce with the northern nation.

Near the end of November, Biden announced that all essential foreign travelers be vaccinated by Jan. 22, adding another vaccine mandate to Biden’s list of unprecedented and wide-ranging vaccine mandates. This announcement came after Biden announced in September a requirement that all federal, military, and most private sector workers be vaccinated.

While the federal and military requirements have gone generally unchallenged, the private sector mandate has been far more of a headache for the administration.

A bipartisan group of senators, including all 50 Republicans joined by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.), have challenged the rule using a decades-old Senate maneuver that allows Congress to strike down federal regulations by a simple majority. The mandate has also faced challenges in federal courts and has been met with opposition by a coalition of state Attorneys General, who have vowed to fight the rule.

Capitalizing on this momentum against Biden’s diktats, Senate Republicans are now looking to strike down Biden’s vaccine mandate for international truckers.

In a letter addressed to Biden and spearheaded by Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), the Republicans cite the high value of international commerce at the northern border and warn that allowing this mandate to continue could hurt that commerce.

“Trucking is the largest mode of surface trade with Canada; every day, there are approximately 14,000 total truck entries along the U.S.-Canada border hauling more than $846 million of goods. Any disruptions to the continuity of U.S.-Canada trade would likely have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond our shared border,” the letter begins.

The senators note that Canada is preparing the same policy, and warn that the policy, whether originating in Washington or Ottawa, poses a risk to continued trade.

This is especially dangerous, they argue, given the strain already being experienced by international supply chains; These supply chain issues have contributed to rising consumer prices amid runaway inflation, and the senators warn that these will be exacerbated by the policy.

“Despite the good intentions underpinning this action, we fear that the imposition of vaccination mandates as a requirement to cross the land border will exacerbate the existing challenges facing our freight networks and supply chain, and could further fuel inflation and rising prices on top of what Americans are already seeing,” the senators wrote.

“Our nation’s truck drivers worked diligently during the pandemic to facilitate critical cross-border freight movements that helped to feed and clothe American communities,” they added. “Now, implementing these policies could cost them their jobs.”

They also argued that the risk that these targeted individuals will spread the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus is relatively low, given that most truckers spend the broad majority of their time alone in their truck.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, drivers have traversed the vast expanses of the U.S. and Canada safely, with a low COVID-19 transmission rate, due to the fact that commercial truck drivers spend the majority of their workday alone in the cab and outside,” they wrote.

“We urge your Administration to reengage our northern neighbor and leading export partner to establish a reciprocal policy for cross-border truck drivers that does not include a vaccine mandate and will not disrupt the North American supply chain,” they concluded.

Daines was joined by colleagues Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), James Risch (R-Idaho), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.).

Biden has defended his vaccine mandates and has yet to accede to any Republican requests to reverse them. Challenges to each of these has come from the courts, from states, or from Congress; Thus, Biden is unlikely to meet the request.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been even more liberal with his use of vaccine mandates, and is also unlikely to put much stock into the requests of foreign lawmakers.

In light of this, any major challenges to the trucker mandate will likely have to originate in the courts on either side of the border.

Joseph Lord
Joseph Lord is a Congressional reporter for The Epoch Times who focuses on the Democrats. He got his Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Clemson University and was a scholar in the Lyceum Program.