The House of Representatives by a narrow margin has passed and sent to the Senate the controversial FY2016 Department of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development appropriations bill that President Barack Obama said he would veto if it reached his desk without major changes, including three involving the trucking industry.
The vote, completed at 11:35 p.m. Tuesday, was 216-210, with 213 Republicans and three Democrats voting for the bill and 31 GOP lawmakers and 179 Democrats voting against the bill. There were seven no votes.
While Obama cited numerous sections of the bill he opposed, there were three sections directly tied to the trucking industry.
One section would prohibit the use of federal funds to reinstate the July 1, 2013, restart rule unless the Secretary of Transportation and the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation reviewed the results of the current restart study and are satisfied that the study establishes that commercial motor vehicle drivers who operated under the restart provisions in effect between July 1, 2013, and the day before the date of enactment of such Public Law demonstrated statistically significant improvement in all outcomes related to safety, operator fatigue, driver health and longevity, and work schedules, in comparison to commercial motor vehicle drivers who operated under the restart provisions in effect on June 30, 2013.
The other two sections allow for 33-foot combination vehicles as opposed to the current 28-foot limit, and prohibits the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration from using federal funds to issue a rulemaking on increasing liability insurance minimums.