Pelosi urges Dems to vote against trucking amendments in FAA bill
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is pressing her Democratic colleagues to vote against two trucking amendments in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization, arguing the measures would impede safety standards.
Pelosi urged fellow Democrats in a letter Wednesday to vote against measures that attempt to refine regulations on meals and rest periods for truckers as well as create a uniform standard for employing motor carriers nationwide.
“The Denham amendment would roll back guaranteed meal and rest breaks for drivers, eroding a key safeguard against fatigue, crashes and vehicular deaths,” Pelosi wrote of a bipartisan amendment put forward by Reps. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) and Jim Costa (D-Calif.).
“This wrongheaded amendment denies truck drivers the voluntary lunch or rest break that they are guaranteed in more than 20 states by state law, which in many cases have been on the books for decades,” Pelosi added.
The amendment seeks to clarify rules within the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 about meals and rest periods for motor carriers. The provision would direct truckers subject to the Department of Transportation’s meal and rest regulations to follow those rules before state regulations.
Pelosi also called for her colleagues to oppose Rep. John Duncan Jr.’s (R-Tenn.) amendment that seeks to establish a uniform hiring standard for truckers.
“The Duncan amendment provides immunity to brokers and shippers when someone is killed or injured in a road accident, as long as they check three superficial verifications that do not ultimately ensure the trucks they hire are safe,” Pelosi wrote. “With outdated and woefully low minimum insurance requirements, and with the majority of motor carriers unrated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, this amendment would allow transportation intermediaries to escape liability and leave those injured or killed in truck accidents holding the bag.”
The House is expected to vote this week on a five-year reauthorization of the FAA, which was formally unveiled earlier this month by House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.).
— This story was updated April 26 at 6:47 pm.