Loading...

Decision to Keep Land Border with Canada Closed Roils Lawmakers

September 27, 2021 by Dan McCue
In this June 8, 2021, a car heads into the U.S. from Canada at the Peace Arch border crossing in Blaine, Wash. Canada is lifting its prohibition Monday, Aug. 9, on Americans crossing the border to shop, vacation or visit, but the United States is keeping similar restrictions in place for Canadians. AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

WASHINGTON – The Biden administration’s decision to extend travel restrictions at its land border with Canada is causing consternation among some members of Congress.

The White House announced the decision to continue to bar nonessential travel by land between the two countries last week, just as it was announcing new rules to allow air travel into the U.S. from a host of other countries.

The U.S. extended the current prohibition another 30 days, until Oct. 21, despite the fact Justin Trudeau’s government has fully opened its border to vaccinated Americans.

And the decision has upset a number of senators and House members who say that cross-border traffic is vital to their state’s economy.

Among them is Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who joined a number of other senators in penning a letter to President Joe Biden, asking him to allow vaccinated Canadians to travel to the U.S. through all ports of entry, regardless of the nature of their visit.

Gillibrand argues the land border closure has placed severe economic strains on the supply chains of New York businesses, hospitals, and medical equipment providers that rely on travel across the northern border to stay afloat and produce essential goods and services. 

“New York and Canada have a valuable economic partnership that has been deeply affected by travel restrictions put in place to prioritize the health and safety of so many New Yorkers who live along the border. However, the circumstances have changed and it’s time to allow fully vaccinated Canadians to travel safely into the United States across the northern border,” Sen. Gillibrand said in a written statement. 

“Countless New Yorkers and medical providers depend on travel across the northern border to stay afloat. I am encouraged by President Biden’s announcement to ease travel restrictions in the EU, UK, and parts of Asia starting in November, and I encourage the administration to make reopening the Canadian land border a top priority,” she said.

The other signers of the letter were, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, of Minnesota, Gary Peters, of Michigan, Debbie Stabenow, of Michigan, Angus King, of Maine, Maggie Hassan, of New Hampshire, and Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire, all of them Democrats.

Also opposing the administration’s decision is Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., who said the prolonged closure is “devastating” northern New York.

“On the same day the Biden administration announced it will start to ease foreign travel restrictions with several countries, including China and Iran, President Biden still refuses to even establish a clear plan for reopening the northern border,” Stefanik said in a written statement. 

“It’s past time for this administration to do its job, so members of the North Country can be reunited with families, tourism can resume, and small businesses no longer have to suffer from this administration’s failure. This prolonged closure has been devastating for our region, and New York deserves better,” she said.

In June, Stefanik introduced the Restoring Northern Border Travel Act, which would require the Department of Homeland Security to expand the categories of permitted travel into the U.S. across the U.S. – Canada border to include individuals traveling to visit family members or property in the U.S., attend business meetings or site-visits, or access U.S. airports. 

This bill would also require DHS to begin implementing and submit to Congress a plan to fully restore nonessential travel into the U.S. at the northern border. 

But the Biden administration has said it’s not ready to ease the border crossing restrictions just yet.

“We’re continuing to evaluate and make policy decisions,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said during a Sept. 23 press briefing, adding that when it came to lifting travel restrictions related to various countries, “we wanted to do it in a way that was equitable.”

A+
a-

Congress

December 3, 2021
by Dan McCue
House Passes Stopgap Spending Extension Through Feb. 18

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday evening passed a stopgap spending bill that, if the Senate follows suit, will keep... Read More

WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday evening passed a stopgap spending bill that, if the Senate follows suit, will keep the federal government running until Feb. 18. The vote was 221-212 with one Republican joining Democrats in approving the measure. It now moves on to the... Read More

December 2, 2021
by Dan McCue
DeFazio Stepping Down from Congress After 36 Years

WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is stepping down at the end of... Read More

WASHINGTON — Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Oregon, chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is stepping down at the end of the current Congress. He told colleagues he decided not to seek a 19th term to have more time to look after his health and well-being after... Read More

December 2, 2021
by Dan McCue
House to Vote on Stopgap Spending Measure, Prospects in Senate Unclear

WASHINGTON — An agreement has been reached on a stopgap spending bill that will keep the federal government running until... Read More

WASHINGTON — An agreement has been reached on a stopgap spending bill that will keep the federal government running until Feb. 18. House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said the agreement on the continuing resolution was filed at 8 a.m. Thursday morning and that the... Read More

November 30, 2021
by Tom Ramstack
Toy Safety Hazards Bring Warning From Senate as Christmas Nears

WASHINGTON — Trista Hamsmith told a Senate panel Tuesday the Christmas story no parent wants to endure. Her normally lively... Read More

WASHINGTON — Trista Hamsmith told a Senate panel Tuesday the Christmas story no parent wants to endure. Her normally lively daughter, a toddler named Reese, began coughing and exhibited difficulty breathing last year. A doctor diagnosed her with a common childhood respiratory infection called croup, gave... Read More

November 30, 2021
by Dan McCue
CBO Confirms: If Congress Fails to Act, Treasury Could Go Bust in Days

WASHINGTON — If the debt limit remains unchanged and the Treasury Department follows through on transferring $118 billion to the... Read More

WASHINGTON — If the debt limit remains unchanged and the Treasury Department follows through on transferring $118 billion to the Highway Trust Fund on Dec. 15, the federal government could run out of cash before the end of the month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said... Read More

November 30, 2021
by Dan McCue
Mark Meadows to Cooperate With Jan. 6 Committee

WASHINGTON — Mark Meadows, the former North Carolina congressman and House Freedom Caucus chair, is now the highest ranking member... Read More

WASHINGTON — Mark Meadows, the former North Carolina congressman and House Freedom Caucus chair, is now the highest ranking member of the Trump administration acknowledged to be cooperating with the Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2020, siege at the U.S. Capitol. “Mr. Meadows has been... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version