Canada Border Opening Supported by Montana Congressmen
The Biden Administration announced this week that the U.S. land borders will reopen to nonessential travel in November. The Associated Press reported that international travelers will need to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. Vehicle, rail and ferry travel between the U.S. and Canada has been restricted since last year. The Homeland Security Secretary said the border will reopen in early November at the same time that air travel restrictions are eased.
Montana's Congressmen have been pushing for reopening the border for months. All were happy to hear of the resumption of nonessential travel back and forth, but all were cautious.
U.S. Representative Matt Rosendale said in a statement Wednesday that he had been pushing for a reopening since February, but that "I am very concerned the Biden administration is using this as a tool to advance his COVID-19 vaccine mandates for those to participate in essential trade, especially as our supply chain continues to have dire consequences for American consumers."
U.S. Senator Steve Daines responded to Biden's announcement by asking that all restrictions be lifted, saying "Montana families, small businesses and communities will finally be able to feel some of the relief they've been seeking for months now that the northern border is partially reopened. While I'm glad to see President Biden take this initial step to reopen the U.S.-Canada border for vaccinated Canadians, I urge him to end all restrictions and fully open the northern border - Montanans are depending on it."
U.S. Senator Jon Tester has been critical of Biden's earlier refusal to open the border. Wednesday he said in a news release, "Montanans depend on cross-border trade and travel to support our businesses and keep our communities connected, and the Biden Administration's decision to keep the northern border closed has unnecessarily hurt our economy. I'm glad that the Biden Administration listened to me and the thousands of Montanans who fought back against this shortsighted policy, and I will continue pushing to make sure that the northern border re-opens as quickly and as safely as possible so that families and businesses on both sides of the border can continue to fully rebound from this crisis."
Montana's entire 545-mile-long northern border has many border towns and Montana exports to Canada in 2018 amounted to over 40 percent of the state's total exports that year.