Two GOP lawmakers are urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer to push forward a bill that would reopen the Canadian border for non-essential travel, to “revitalize American jobs and tourism.”
While the Canadian border is expected to remain closed until Sept. 21, Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) argued Wednesday that it is “past time” for Congress to take action and provide help to those who rely on cross-border business.
“The reduction in cross-border traffic has had a significant impact on local economies along the northern border, including agriculture, small businesses, and tourism,” the two wrote. “These industries are the lifeblood of many northern border communities from New York to Montana that continue to inordinately feel the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The lawmakers urged “immediate action” on the Restoring Northern Border Travel Act after the closure of the northern US border has been repeatedly extended since March 2020.
On Aug. 20, the Department of Homeland Security extended the closure to at least Sept. 21, despite the Canadian government opening its border to vaccinated Americans in early August.
“While the Canadian government opened its border to fully vaccinated American travelers on August 9th in clear recognition of the close bilateral partnership our nations share, the Biden Administration failed to reciprocate these measures and delayed reopening the border for at least another month,” Daines and Stefanik wrote.
“To make matters worse, the Biden Administration has provided zero transparency on the metrics and decision-making process guiding these continued restrictions and still has not established any plan on how cross-border travel will eventually be restored.”
The GOP lawmakers argued that the Biden administration’s decision to keep the border closed “continues to unfairly punish” US businesses while ignoring positive progress of vaccine rollouts.
“We implore you to immediately consider our legislation to end more than 500 days of economic hardship on our northern border communities,” they added.
This week, the US State Department raised the threat level for Americans traveling to Canada, adding the destination to its “do not travel” list amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The travel advisory for the neighboring country has been upgraded to “Level 4 – do not travel” status, according to a statement obtained by Reuters.
With Post wires