Senate Vote on FY09 Omnibus Spending Bill delayed at least a week!

Breaking news from The Washington Times

Senate Democrats beat back a series of Republican proposed changes to a $410 billion omnibus spending bill Thursday, but they couldn’t muster enough votes to block more amendments as final consideration was postponed until next week.

As such, a new stopgap measure needed to keep government going. The current one expires tomorrow.

The House is expected to pass another temporary spending measure Friday, followed by Senate approval, to keep the government running until Tuesday.

The House passed the omnibus last week but would have to revisit the legislation if changed by the Senate. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said she would instead take up a continuing resolution to fund the government at 2008 levels until the end of the year.

This is indeed good news as it gives us more time to work the Senators to get the Section 136 removed from the final bill.

This is especially important now that the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General Final Report is out.

Not surprisingly, the opposition is ignoring this report, and the report probably accounts for the perceived urgency in getting this idiotic Section 136 passed.

You see folks, the DOT/OIG report showed the opposition, specifically, Jimmy Hoffa of the Teamsters, and Todd Spencer of OOIDA to have engaged in what I have been claiming on this site for the past two years.

They LIED TO THE AMERICAN PUBLIC! Every word out of their mouths have been LIES, DISTORTIONS, and LIES by OMISSION!

The report shows there are no “dangerous Mexican trucks with no oversight” as Hoffa continually claims. Indeed, the program participants showed a better OOS rate for both driver and vehicle than American carriers.

Yet Hoffa continues to LIE TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE even as the evidence contradicts his words.

“Shutting down the border is the right thing to do. There’s no guarantee that trucks or drivers from Mexico are safe. Until there is, dangerous Mexican trucks should not be allowed to drive freely on our highways.” – Jimmy Hoffa

This reports is full of guarantees and proof positive the trucks and drivers are safe. But in Hoffa’s demented little mind, that will never be the case.

The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior and these carriers have proven themselves completely.

For the first time, the “Grandfathered and Certified” Mexican carriers from the 1982 Moratorium was mentioned and statistic disclosed. They to came in with better numbers than US carriers but not quite as low as the program participants. These “G&C” carriers, 350+ strong, have been operating side by side with US carriers, with no special restrictions for almost thirty years. They have not cost Americans any jobs nor denied us frieght. Hoffa and Spencer pointedly ignore these facts as they don’t fit their agenda.

The report showed us that FMCSA indeed thoroughly vetted all participants which caused many of the initial applicants to withdraw or turn away from the PASA process. In addition to the safety vetting, participants were also criminally vetted which resulted in the denial of 138 applications for various reasons.

The report also pointed out that participants were inspected each and every time they crossed the border, as promised by FMCSA, in their statement “Every truck every time”. This was not a legal or regulatory requirement as FMCSA and the OIG pointed out, but something that was done to reassure interested parties.

The opposition took this to mean a LEVEL I CVSA inspection of every truck, every time,which was never the intent. The opposition knew this but chose to confuse the facts and put their own spin on it.

The OIG report found also that Mexican drug testing facilities were in compliance and that Mexico SCT had made definite progress in updating it’s databases. This is another lie that Hoffa and Spencer continually told which had no basis in truth.

So we have a few more days to work with and to convince enough Senators and possibly Congressmen to get the damn amendment pulled and let this legal and valid program conclude, so we will have solid data as Congress has asked for.

Possibility of Retaliation by Mexico

Some are pooh poohing the idea of Mexico retaliating with tariff’s which they have every right to do.

On POLITICO Anne Schroeder is reporting:

This is a problem, as evidenced this week by the Mexican ambassador to the U.S.

According to an eyewitness source, Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan was seen at a luncheon at the Four Seasons showing a group of people — including congressional staffers — a list with the trade sanctions that Mexico is preparing to impose on the U.S in retaliation for closing the cross-border trucking program.

Just what these trade sanctions are remains unclear.

The Mexican Embassy would not comment on the luncheon. However, spokesman Ricardo Alday admitted that Mexico is entertaining these actions and said: “As we have said in the past, we’re keeping all options open in the event the program is suspended or closed.”

Senator Robert Byrd found out the hard way that Mexico can play hard ball.

n 2002, the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the Byrd Amendment (formally known as the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000) violates U.S. trade obligations, clearing the way for retaliatory sanctions by eight WTO member countries. The WTO later authorized eight countries to retaliate based on the amount of Byrd Amendment distributions by the U.S.

Mexico imposed a 30% duty on dairy products, including baby formula; a 20% duty on wine; and, 9% duty on candy and chewing gum. Mexico’s action followed that of Japan, the European Union and the Canada in imposing duties on the U.S. that year because of the Byrd Amendment. Total retaliatory tariffs from these countries amounted to nearly $114 million.

Mexico’s imposition of retaliatory tariffs added fuel to the fire. Mexico was the fourth WTO member, after the European Union, Canada and Japan, to impose retaliatory tariffs because of the failure to repeal the Byrd Amendment. In addition to hurting U.S. exporters, American manufacturers and retailers were seriously harmed from the Byrd Amendment – they were required to pay the duties and then see these payments transferred to their U.S. competitors because of Byrd. How could a rational system of trade laws have allowed a few American companies to be subsidized at the expense of others?”

The U.S. Dairy Export Council said Mexico’s 30% tariffs on dairy products caused great harm to exporters of $160.4 million in business the U.S. conducted with Mexico in 2004. In the first five months in 2005, U.S. dairy exports to Mexico were valued at $103.2 million.

So do we want another trade war in this recession? Do we want to throw aside our legal and moral obligations to assuage the ego of insignificant little men like Hoffa, Spencer and Dorgan?

We think not.