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Vaccine Mandate Still Impacting Trucking and Seedlings from Being Delivered to Idaho Ag

Vaccine Mandate Still Impacting Trucking and Seedlings from Being Delivered to Idaho Ag

Washington, D.C. – Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson visited Western Trailer Manufacturing in Boise last week where he spoke with Idaho trucking companies about the challenges COVID-19 restrictions and supply chain issues are having on their businesses.  He also experienced the truck simulator to better understand a day in the life of a truck driver.

“Speaking with Idaho truck companies, I heard over and over about how COVID-19 restrictions at our northern border are making supply chain and inflation issues worse for Americans,” said Simpson.  “While vaccine mandates have been lifted for private employers and paused for federal contractors, they remain in place for non-U.S. travelers—including truck drivers—entering the U.S. through the northern land border. This severely limits the number of drivers who are eligible to bring products back and forth across the border.”

On April 21, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security extended its COVID-19-related land border requirements which require non-U.S. travelers crossing into the U.S. at a land border to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and to show proof of vaccination upon request.  Truck drivers who meet the criteria to drive back and forth between Canada and the U.S. are difficult to find due to the many requirements.  Approximately 40% of truck drivers are exercising their personal right to choose not to be vaccinated, and this impacts the availability of drivers who can make this haul.

“With planting season upon us, the existing driver shortage, compounded by the inability to drive back and forth to Canada with vaccination requirements, our growers are not receiving their seedlings that they depend on and need now,” continued Simpson.  “This isn’t a product you can wait for while the supply chain catches up—no seeds in the spring means no crops in the fall.  We need to make cross-border trade easier, not harder.”

In response to the severe shortage of truck drivers who are eligible to cross the U.S-Canada border, Congressman Simpson has cosponsored H.R. 6809, the Terminating Reckless and Unnecessary Checks Known to Erode Regular Shipping—TRUCKERS—Act.  The TRUCKERS Act would prohibit the Secretary of Homeland Security from imposing vaccine requirements on truck drivers who are Canadian or Mexican citizens who must temporarily enter the U.S. for business.  The bill would help alleviate the supply chain and inflation issues that are increasing business expenses for Idaho producers and grocery bills for American families.

Congressman Simpson opposes federal vaccine mandates and has worked to push back against Biden Administration overreach to preserve the rights of Americans to make their own medical decisions.