Dozens of House members from both parties urged the Biden administration Wednesday to reopen the border with Canada and take other steps to ease international travel, citing the power of COVID-19 vaccines and widespread testing.
The letter signed by 75 lawmakers said a majority of U.S. adults are fully vaccinated and six in 10 Canadians have received at least one dose, though full vaccinations in Canada should accelerate as supply improves in the coming weeks.
In the U.S., 58% of adults and 47% of the entire population are fully vaccinated.
“Both governments should follow the science and drop all travel restrictions for travelers between the United States and Canada who are fully vaccinated travelers or provide proof of a negative PCR test,” Rep. Brian Higgins, New York Democrat, and Rep. Bill Huizenga, Michigan Republican, wrote in spearheading the letter as co-chairmen of the Canada-U.S. Interparliamentary Group.
Nonessential trips between the U.S. and Canada are restricted until at least July 21, though Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Biden administration say they’re working on plans to fully reopen.
The border closure began in March 2020. It has been extended every month since then with little clarity on how reopening talks are going or what guideposts are being used to measure progress, according to House lawmakers.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer visited Sackets Harbor, a town near Ontario, on Tuesday to press for a border reopening. The New York Democrat accused Canada of delaying the process.
The House group also called for the resumption of travel with Britain, citing vaccine progress in the country and the consequences of restricting international travel, generally.
“Prior to the pandemic, international inbound travel to the U.S. contributed $234 billion in export income to the U.S. economy, generated a trade surplus of $51 billion, and directly supported 1.2 million American jobs,” the lawmakers wrote. “However, the steep decline in travel in 2020 resulted in the loss of $150 billion in export income. If nothing is done to lift entry restrictions, the U.S. is projected to lose 1.1 million jobs and an additional $175 billion by the end of this year.”