September 26, 2022
Senate Ag Committee holds hearing on USDA trade nominee:
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing this week to discuss a variety of key USDA nominees, including the nominee to be USDA’s Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs, Alexis Taylor. Ms. Taylor currently serves as the Director of the Oregon Department of Agriculture, where she oversees agricultural policy directives. She majored in political science and received a minor in communications from Iowa State University. Members of both parties expressed hope for Taylor’s nomination and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) stated that he hoped her nomination could be approved next week through unanimous consent. This role has been vacant for nearly two years. The Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs’ role is to lead the Department on trade policy with the primary responsibility of ensuring USDA speaks with a unified voice on international agricultural issues domestically and abroad.
USTR Chief Agricultural Negotiator nomination advances out of Committee:
Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Finance favorably reported the nomination of Doug McKalip to serve as Chief Agricultural Negotiator within the US Trade Representative on a unanimous vote. The nominee, Doug McKalip, has previously served in a variety of positions at the United States Department of Agriculture, most recently as a senior advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack. McKalip underwent a contentious hearing in July of this year, though the focus was mostly on the Biden administration’s trade policy efforts, or lack thereof. This nomination will now go to the full Senate for confirmation, but a date has not yet been announced. With more than 20 years of experience at USDA, McKalip is well known in agricultural circles in Washington DC and has previously been engaged on important issues for specialty crops, including floral, on areas like disaster funding and regulatory policy over plant breeding innovations.
This week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) filed cloture on what hopes to be a stop-gap funding bill to extend government funding levels until December 16. Once cleared in the Senate, the House will plan to almost immediately move to consideration of the stop-gap under the “same-day rule” authority. This leaves Congress with a little over one week from the fiscal year deadline, making it imperative they pass a continuing resolution (CR) agreement when members return next week for votes.
Senator Manchin (D-WV) released language for his permitting reform proposal this week, but Majority Leader Schumer walked back his previous statements of support saying its inclusion in the CR would be “difficult”. With progressive lawmakers, threatening to vote against the CR should the proposal be included, Sen. Manchin faces a tough battle ahead on the issue.
Numerous other authorizations, funding anomalies, and a supplemental aid package for Ukraine and states affected by recent disasters are still being negotiated. Supplemental funding for COVID-19 and Monkeypox were also being discussed as potential add-ons to the CR. The Biden Administration initially requested Congress to provide $47 billion in supplemental funding.
We remain hopeful that Congress will pick up the FY2023 funding bills in December and pass an omnibus bill that includes the Agricultural Appropriations package containing increased funding for the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI). In addition, an omnibus appropriations bill will provide opportunity to pass the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) reauthorization. Once the dust settles on the midterm elections, we should have a much better sense of the outlook on GSP and FY2023 appropriations.
August 18, 2022
Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 Signed Into Law
On Aug. 16, President Joe Biden signed the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act into law. This comes after both the House of Representatives and the Senate passed the legislation on party line votes. The bill includes an additional $18 billion for existing Farm Bill conservation programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). These programs provide assistance to private landowners to voluntarily implement conservation practices on agricultural land.
The bill provides $2.2 billion for underserved farmers, ranchers and landowners who experienced discrimination before 2021 in USDA farm lending programs and $3.1 billion for debt modifications for distressed borrowers or guaranteed farm loans for borrowers with at-risk agricultural operations. The bill also supports renewable energy initiatives with $13.3 billion for farm bill energy title programs and $304 million for grants and loans for underutilized renewable energy technologies.
During final negotiations, Democrats added $5.3 billion in farm debt relief to the package, as well as $4 billion in funding for the Bureau of Reclamation to address the impact of drought on western water supplies.
Senate Releases FY 2023 Appropriations Bills
The Senate released its FY 2023 appropriations bills this past month. The Agriculture Appropriations Bill provides $27.07 billion, a $2.3 billion increase from FY 2022. The report includes language in support of the Floriculture Nursery Research Initiative, as well as the Floriculture Crops Report.
- Floriculture and Nursery Research: The Committee recognizes the economic importance of the floriculture and nursery sector of agriculture and the industry's need for continued innovation. The Committee provides an additional $1,500,000 for ARS to support academic and Federal researchers to pursue efforts in crop protection, breeding, mechanization, and other areas through USDA's Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative.
- Floriculture Crops Report: The Committee recognizes the importance of the Floriculture Crops Report and maintains funding for NASS to complete the report. In compiling the report, the Committee continues to direct NASS to include data from Alaska.
Stabenow Selects New Committee Staff Director to Replace Departing Shultz
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow announced the selection of a new majority staff director to replace Joe Shultz, who previously served the Senate Ag Committee for 11 years as both majority and minority staff director and chief economist. Stabenow announced the selection of Erica Chabot to the Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry Committee. Erica Chabot is a New Hampshire native and graduate of St. Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont. She has spent the last 10 years as Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy's (D-VT) legislative director and deputy chief of staff. As legislative director, Chabot led agriculture and nutrition-related initiatives for Senator Leahy, for the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills, and has been a key adviser on dairy policy, farm-to-school issues, conservation and rural development. She also previously served as the Judiciary Committee communications director for five years.
Senate Finance Committee Holds Hearing on Chief Ag Negotiator Nominee
On July 28, the Senate Committee on Finance convened a hearing to consider the nomination of Douglas J. McKalip to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator, with the rank of Ambassador, at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Senators from both parties voiced their approval of Mr. McKalip and agreed U.S. trade policy must focus on increasing market access and enforcing trade agreements already in place. Democrats voiced approval of the Biden Administration's overall trade policy and efforts to open new markets. Republicans criticized the Administration on its overall handling of trade agreements and frameworks as well as the timeline of President Biden's nomination of Mr. McKalip. Other issues discussed in the hearing included trade barriers to market access, the Administration's use of economic frameworks, and the impact of agricultural imports on domestic producers.
Ag Labor Bill Passage Window Beginning to Close
Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) have been working for months on a way to move the House-passed Farm Workforce Modernization Act through the Senate, but as the calendar moves into the Congressional August recess and Mid-Term election season, the window for passage is beginning to close. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act passed the House in March of 2021 by a vote of 247-174, which included 30 Republican votes for passage. The bill garnered support from over 300 agricultural organizations and included provisions that would establish a Certified Agricultural Worker status (CAW) and make needed changes to the H-2A visa process. One of the biggest sticking points to Senate passage remains an American Farm Bureau Federation provision that would allow H-2A workers to sue U.S. employers. To pass the Senate, the bill would need to garner 60 votes in support of passage, but it is still unclear how the legislation will make it over this hurdle before time runs out on this Congressional year.
July 26, 2022
House Passes FY 2023 Minibus Appropriations Package
The House approved a six-bill minibus appropriations package on a 220 to 207 vote. The package includes the FY 2023 Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development, and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies funding bills.
The Agriculture Appropriations bill provides $27.2 billion, an 8% increase over FY 2022. The bill includes a $1 million increase for the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI) and $6.5 million for Specialty Crop Pests. The accompanying report also includes language supporting research on measuring carbon using drones.
Several amendments were adopted on the floor. A division-by-division summary can be found here. The text of the Rules Committee Print can be found here. A list of adopted amendments can be found here. The Rule for H.R. 8294, with a list of all amendments and a description provided by the sponsor, can be found here.
The Senate is expected to release their FY 2023 appropriations bill sometime this week.
House Holds Hearing on H-2A and H-2B
The House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections convened a hearing to review and assess the impact H2 Visa Programs (H-2A and H-2B) have on workers. Members and witnesses raised concerns about H-2A employers discriminating against American farm workers and the lack of protection from extortion and workforce abuse endured by workers. Members highlighted the need for the same labor protections afforded to workers in other industries.
Members also criticized the Biden Administration's immigration policy and handling of the Southern border and said that Congress cannot meaningfully discuss reforming the H2 programs until the border is secure and under control. Witnesses noted that employers participating in the H2 programs who comply with the many regulations, and are subject to oversight from DOL, are frustrated that other employers are hiring undocumented workers with virtually no governmental involvement. It was also stated that from the worker perspective, workers participating in the programs to legally enter the U.S. are being deterred from doing so due to the high numbers of migrants crossing the border illegally that still receive similar jobs to those received by H2 participants.
Witnesses encouraged Congress to pass the Farm Workforce Modernization Act, which they stated would give opportunities for farm workers to work in the U.S. with a path to permanent residency. Additionally, witnesses advocated for the passage of the Fairness for Farm Workers Act, which they said would protect farm workers and afford them the same rights as workers in other industries.
House Releases Don Young American Grown Act
The Co-Chairs of the House of Representatives' Cut Flower Caucus released the Don Young American Grown Act in honor of the late Congressman Don Young from Alaska. The bill would require any cut flowers or green officially displayed in public areas of the Executive office of the President, the Department of State, or the Department of Defense be produced in the United States.
In addition to the bill, the Members also introduced a resolution designating July 2022 as "American Grown Flower and Foliage Month." The resolution highlights the history of cut flowers and foliage and emphasizes the importance and impact of the U.S. floral industry.
Lawmakers have been in final negotiations to reconcile differences between the House passed America COMPETES Act of 2022 and the Senate's U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA). However, negotiations on the package have since slowed as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is moving forward with a package that combines the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) for America Act and funding originally included in USICA and COMPETES, called CHIPS+.
While focus has shifted to CHIPS+, there is still an appetite to finish a USICA/COMPETES package. In a letter to House members, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that they are still striving to bring a COMPETES bill to the floor.
USICA and COMPETES include several provisions important to the floral industry. USICA would renew GSP until January 1, 2027, while the COMPETES Act would renew the program until January 1, 2024, and both would retroactively reinstate GSP to December 21, 2020. Both bills also include Miscellaneous Tariff Bills that would eliminate or reduce tariffs and renew the process for MTB petitions.
USDA partners with ports to help ease port congestion
On Thursday, the USDA announced their plan to increase agricultural commodity exports from the Port of Houston. The partnership was established to position and store containers while waiting for shipping freights to arrive. The partnership would allow ports to fully utilize their container capacity. The Port of Houston is the sixth busiest port in the United States and handles over two-thirds of the Gulf of Mexico’s cargoes.
The USDA also announced its expansion with the Northwest Seaport Alliance (NWSA). This expansion would enhance the current partnership and increase access by establishing a 16-acre “pop up” port site. This site would be used to accept refrigerated or dry agricultural products. The pop-up site would be in Tacoma and be used to reduce operational hurdles and alleviate terminal delays for exporting goods. The expansion is an extension of the NWSA which operates at the Port of Seattle. For more information on the Port of Houston and the NWSA click here to learn about the current and upcoming partnerships.
USDA investing in pilot program to strengthen the agriculture supply chain and combat labor challenges
During the Summit of the Americas, President Biden and leaders from across the Western Hemisphere presented the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection. The goal of the Declaration is to bring the migration crisis under control and focuses on three pillars: (1) stabilization; (2) legal pathways and protections; and (3) human migration management. To combat labor challenges exacerbated by COVID-19, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) in coordination with other federal agencies plans to develop a pilot program which will utilize up to $65 million in American Rescue Plan funding. The program will provide support for agricultural employers in implementing health and safety standards that ensure a healthy work environment for U.S. workers in addition to H-2A visa program workers hired from Northern Central American countries. The program aims to improve food and agricultural supply chain resiliency and advance Administration policies. As the pilot is developed, USDA will provide stakeholder engagement opportunities and the Department is partnering with the United Farm Workers of America (UFW) to inform development of the program
House Appropriations Subcommittee marks up FY23 bill
Last week, the House Appropriations released text for the FY 2023 Agriculture-Rural Development. The bill included $27.2 billion in total spending, an 8% increase from FY 2022. On Wednesday, the bill went before the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee for markup where the bill was approved on a voice vote. Full committee markup is scheduled for June 23, when we hope to hear more about funding levels for specific specialty crop, particularly floriculture, programs. The text of the House agriculture appropriations bill can be found here.
USICA conference update
House and Senate leaders are currently deciding whether to narrow the scope of ongoing USICA negotiations in an effort to pass the legislation before the August recess. Legislators are worried that if the package does not pass before the recess, it may never get done. To accomplish this, head negotiators have been instructed to quickly find areas of consensus among Republicans and Democrats and forgo other issues. It has not yet been announced whether the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) or other trade provisions will make it into the final package.
May 25, 2022
EPA Publishes New Workplan on Pesticides and Endangered Species
Earlier this month, EPA published a workplan describing a new approach to pesticide registrations that would consider potential impacts on endangered and threatened species and their critical habitats before registrations can move forward. This is a significant departure from decades of agency policy. Previously, new pesticides would be registered following rigorous human health and environmental risk assessments but before risks to endangered and threatened species were considered.
The agency believes these changes will make pesticides registrations more robust and prevent product losses due to litigation. However, grower organizations are concerned that the new approach will add years to an already long registration process and, for specialty crops like floriculture, disincentivize companies from developing new products on crops that are not large acre crops like corn, soybean, wheat and cotton.
USDA to provide approximately $6 billion to commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by 2020 and 2021 natural disasters
This past month, USDA announced that commodity and specialty crop producers impacted by natural disaster events in 2020 and 2021 will receive emergency relief payments through the newly created Emergency Relief Program (ERP) through the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The ERP is another relief component of the Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act and is estimated to benefit more than 220,000 producers in the first phase who have crop insurance or Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage. Full ERP payment calculation factor tables are available on the emergency relief website and in the program fact sheet. Unfortunately, most floriculture producers that qualify do not have federal crop insurance and will have to wait until sometime in late summer before being eligible for payments.
Agricultural labor update
Labor shortages across the agriculture and floriculture industry have reached a severe level. Whether it be in greenhouses or storefronts, dependable employees are desperately needed to maintain steady supply chain flows. The impact of labor shortages at the grower level creates cracks in an ever more fragile supply chain, that depends on growers to produce high quality flowers and ornamental plants.
Congress has tried to introduce legislation that would make some progress on alleviating these challenges, but so far, no package appears poised to make it to the President’s desk. Last year, Congress passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act by a 247-174 vote. This bill would have established a program for farmworkers to earn legal status through continued agriculture work, giving those who have worked at least 180 days in the last two years temporary status. The bill also made changes to the H-2A temporary agricultural worker visa program by setting up a pilot program to allow visa holders to change jobs without a new application. It also develops an E-Verify system for agricultural employers. However, it was never taken up by the Senate.
Earlier this year, the Dignity Act was introduced in the House with the purpose of securing borders, enhancing E-Verify enforcement, and providing a 10-year path to enhanced legal status with five-year renewable visas. In addition, it sets up a market-based certified agricultural worker program.
Unfortunately, with this being an election year and with the record number of apprehensions at our Southern border, coupled with partisan messaging battles on public health related expulsions of immigrants (Title 42) it is very unlikely we will see a real effort to address our labor and immigration woes for the rest of this year.
April 20, 2022
April Legislative Update
In recent weeks, President Biden released his proposed budget for FY 2023 spending. This release kicks off a months-long process, in which Congress will create and pass 12 appropriations bills to fund the federal government. It is important to note that in recent years, the appropriations process has taken much longer than its Sept. 30 deadline each year.
In his budget, President Biden calls for a 9 percent increase in funding for the United States Department of Agriculture, with significant portions of the funding going toward agricultural research, conservation technical assistance, and rural broadband expansion.
The budget also earmarks $1.8 billion for climate-related programs. Though an important step in the process, the release of the President's budget is more of a "wish list" for spending, and Congress often differs from the original budget laid out. Congressional offices have begun closing their appropriations requests submissions, ahead of House and Senate deadlines.
Along with appropriations, Congress is also focused on preparing for the upcoming 2023 Farm Bill. On the House side, hearings have been focused on urban agriculture and specialty crops, as well as international trade and tariffs. Lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee grilled United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai on future trade priorities, as well as the lack of bilateral trade deals taking place.
Republicans and Democrats showed unanimous support in creating more secure trade policies, remaining competitive in global markets, and addressing rising inflation challenges while taking steps to improve the U.S. economy.
The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry announced their 2023 Farm Bill kickoff hearing, titled "Growing Jobs and Economic Opportunity: 2023 Farm Bill Perspectives," will be held on April 29 at Michigan State University. The Committee will hear from a not-yet-released witness list of Michigan farmers and agricultural industry stakeholders. Another field hearing in Arkansas is expected to be announced after Senator Boozman's May primary race. These hearings will kick off a months-long process in the Senate of drafting a 2023 Farm Bill.
Finally, Congress is still trying to push a China competition bill across the finish line. Earlier this year, the House passed the $350 billion America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength Act (America COMPETES Act) and last year the Senate passed the $250 million United States Competition and Innovation Act (USICA).
While there are significant differences between the bills, both aim to bolster investment in domestic manufacturing, increase funding for scientific research and development, and include significant trade policies. One of these policies include General System of Preferences (GSP) reauthorization, which supports the floral industry by containing costs and providing importers and retailers with greater price certainty. Congress will need to go through conference to reconcile the differences between these two bills, which will take months to reach completion.
EPA expands efforts to USDA to reduce nutrient runoff
EPA is working to strengthen its partnerships with various entities and stakeholders to reduce nutrient runoff. EPA's efforts include urging states to include numeric criteria in their water quality standards.
The agency also has plans to increase engagement with ag stakeholders through new quarterly roundtables with ag groups and the continuation of existing forums. Producers are encouraged to attend these meetings and make their voices heard on behalf of the floral industry.
Ag groups file Supreme Court amicus brief in support of Idaho landowners
Thirteen ag groups including the American Farm Bureau Federation and United Egg Producers, among others, filed an amicus brief supporting the arguments of Idaho landowners in a case that could determine the future reach of the Clean Water Act.
The Supreme Court case centers around Chantell and Michael Sackett, who were subject to a compliance order and possible fines for filing a wetland on their property. The Sacketts are asking the Supreme Court to revisit their 2006 Rapanos v. United States ruling, which created two tests for determining the reach of the Clean Water Act.
The outcome of this case will be critical in defining the regulatory reach of the Clean Water Act and the Environmental Protection Agency to a variety of agricultural industry stakeholders, including the floral industry.
March 25, 2022
Chief ag negotiator nominee withdraws
Elaine Trevino, the Biden administration's nominee for chief agricultural trade negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, has withdrawn from the confirmation process. Trevino will still be joining the Biden administration in a "senior role" at USDA.
However, her withdrawal leaves USTR with a prolonged vacancy in a key role for agriculture. It is particularly problematic as the costs of doing business in agriculture continue to increase and creative solutions to inflationary pressures through international trade are necessary.
Another significant ag trade position, the trade undersecretary of USDA, is still without a Senate-confirmed official or nominee as well. Trevino was previously president of the Almond Alliance of California.
House Oversight Committee holds hearing on wildfires and forest management
You might be asking... wildfires in a floriculture newsletter? Unfortunately, growing in California, Oregon and Washington have felt the direct and indirect impacts of wildfires. These events have caused considerable damage to critical infrastructure for production operations as well as the consequences of wildfire smoke damaging flower quality, even when fires are miles away from production sites.
On Wednesday, March 16, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment held a hearing to discuss the role of the federal government in adopting measures to better prepare and react to larger, severe and more frequent wildfires. The purpose of the hearing was to hear the perspectives of various stakeholders on the best path forward for the prevention of disastrous wildfires.
The hearing was generally quite contentious, with Republican members actively criticizing Democratic policies toward the energy sector and Democratic members speaking on the detrimental effects of logging in national forests. There was also disagreement as to whether climate change or insufficient forest management were the primary cause for the recent increase in large wildfires and on what the practice of forest "thinning" refers to and whether it is beneficial to forest management.
Though little progress toward a solution was evident in the hearing, we expect additional attention and funding support in the year ahead as Congress and the Administration continue to grapple with what feels like ever-increasing frequency and intensity of wildfires.
USDA announces $250 million investment to support additional fertilizer production
On March 11, USDA announced plans to make $250 million available through a new grant program this summer to support innovative American fertilizer production to supply American farmers. This investment was announced to support American farmers with rising costs due to recent supply chain disruptions and to spur competition.
The grants will support fertilizer production that is independent, produced in the U.S., innovative, sustainable, and farmer focused. More details about the application process will be announced in the summer of 2022. USDA is also seeking comments and information about the impacts of concentration and market power in fertilizer, seeds, agricultural inputs and retail, which can be submitted here no later than May 16, 2022. Unfortunately, this program will not affect current prices and any relief to producers as a result of this program would still be years away.
Feb. 18, 2022
The International Fresh Produce Association has continued its focus on supply chain issues over the past few weeks.
Much of the attention in the press has been focused on issues regarding the Canadian border, which we have been particularly attuned to. IFPA has been directly engaged in these efforts to resolve these issues, joining others in agriculture.
There continue to be concerns from our members and the allied industries about the availability of H-2A workers who play a pivotal role for many of our employers, particularly at this time of year.
Given the continued issues with regards to COVID, the challenge of bringing in workers has compounded. While we continue our legislative efforts, we have also been in direct communication with both domestic and foreign officials with regards to these issues, many of which are complicated by the pandemic.
In other news, The Food and Drug Administration has a new leader, Dr. Robert Califf, who was confirmed by the Senate 50-46. Dr. Califf is a strong ally of the fresh produce industry, and we look forward to working with him and the administration on our priorities.
Finally, the House of Representatives has begun hearings on the 2023 Farm Bill, and IFPA is already working closely with our allies in the Specialty Crop Farm Bill Alliance to develop priorities for the specialty crop industry. These issues will be at the forefront of what is anticipated to be a highly debated Farm Bill over the future of American agriculture.
Jan. 24, 2022
With 2022 getting underway, there is much left on Congress’s to-do list. The Build Back Better Bill proposed by President Biden included provisions that would address many of the long standing issues in the fresh cut floral world with regards to access to much needed labor. The bill included provisions to provide legal status for those workers who are currently here that are improperly documented or undocumented.
As things stand today, bipartisan negotiations are on hold in the United States Senate over a path forward on agricultural immigration reform given the stalled Build Back Better bill. Provisions under consideration include a resolution of the status of the current workforce, potential reforms to the H-2A Visa program and a mandatory E-Verify requirement for all employers.
These negotiations, spearheaded by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Michael Crapo (R-ID) remain on hold until the Senate dispenses with the larger package. The legislative product is guided by the bipartisan Farm Workforce Modernization Act which passed the House last year.
With regards to transportation issues, an extension was granted for Hours of Service for truck drivers, but it does not apply to our industry and only covers livestock and livestock feed haulers.
Despite repeated attempts by other perishable industries including IFPA’s predecessors, United Fresh Produce Association and the Produce Marketing Association, the exemption was limited in scope.
Perhaps more importantly for the industry is to note that as of January 22, 2022, all cross-border travelers must show proof of vaccination for COVID-19. This previously applied to tourists and other travelers but exempted most truck drivers. This exemption expires on Jan. 22.