WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Democrats and Republicans are calling out the Biden administration for extending the restriction at the Canadian border.
“I think it’s an outrage,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
Gillibrand is disappointed travel restrictions at the Canadian border will remain in place at least until October 21.
“We need that border open for our economy and for families and communities that depend on those borders and cross border transactions,” Gillibrand said.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) says Port Roberts, Washington is especially suffering.
“Their local economy depends on Canadian tourists, especially since, by the way, the only ferry between Port Roberts and the rest of Washington state is closed because of the pandemic,” Murray said.
In a statement, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) said the prolonged closure is “devastating” northern New York.
The current restrictions do allow air travel between the countries, but the Biden administration says it’s not ready to ease border crossings on the ground.
“It is a health decision by requiring vaccinations, and we wanted to do it in a way that was equitable,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
But Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) says the health rationale doesn’t make sense.
“Non-vaccinated Canadians who have a negative COVID test can get on a plane and fly to the United States, but vaccinated Canadians, and they have a higher vaccination rate than we do, cannot cross a port of entry into our country,” Hassan said.
Lawmakers say they will continue to pressure the president to repeal the restriction next month.