The week ahead: Trucker debate revs on

Lawmakers are likely to continue a debate over late night truck driver scheduling rules this week – if they can reach an agreement on how to legislative process first. 

A pair of competing amendments addressing the “restart” rules for truck drivers to be able to start a new work week have been attached to a broader spending bill for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development. 

The amendments was scheduled to come up for a vote on the floor of the Senate last week, but Democrats and Republicans became gridlocked on the way to proceed with the consideration and tabled it for another time. 

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One of the amendments, by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), would undo DOT rules that require truck drivers to take time between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. on consecutive nights before they can begin a new work week. The Collins amendment would also remove a limit on the number of “restarts” truckers can declare that is currently set at one per week. 

A competing amendment by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) would keep the rules in place. Booker’s amendment was filed after comedian Tracy Morgan was involved in a high-profile accident with a trucker in his home state. 

The Morgan accident, which resulted in the actor being hospitalized for 2 weeks, roiled the debate over trucker scheduling after Collins’ amendment was easily approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

If lawmakers can agree now on the rules for the debate, the issue will come to head on the floor of the upper chamber this week.  

Elsewhere, House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Rep. Bill Shuster is planning to offer driverless car rides to his fellow lawmakers next week. 

Shuster is planning to bring a driverless car owned his home state’s Carnegie Mellon University’s (CMU)  that he test drove last year to Capitol Hill on Tuesday. 

The transportation committee chairman will offer members of Congress “the opportunity throughout the day for a 20- to 30-minute ride in the driverless car along a route through the Washington area, which will include complex traffic patterns and highway travel,” his office said Friday.