House Appropriations Advances Fiscal 2019 Transportation Spending Bill

The House Appropriations Committee on May 24 voted 34-17 to advance a fiscal 2019 transportation spending bill, after the committee voted down an amendment aimed at removing a number of trucking-related policy riders.

The fiscal spending measure, which would provide $71.8 billion in discretionary funding for transportation and housing programs, now heads to the full House. It’s unclear when the Chamber will take up the legislation.

Of importance to the trucking industry, the Appropriations bill contains language that would prohibit states from enacting meal and rest break provisions for truck drivers. The provision is similar to language in an amendment introduced by Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) and approved by a bipartisan 222-193 vote in the recently passed House aviation reauthorization. That amendment, which is a top legislative priority for the American Trucking Associations (ATA), is currently awaiting Senate action.

Rep. David Price (D-N.C.) introduced an amendment to the 2019 appropriations bill that sought to remove the meal and rest break provision, along with other trucking-related riders. Specifically, Rep. Price’s amendment, which failed 21-29, also sought to cut an extended exemption from the electronic logging device mandate for agricultural haulers moving livestock. Rep. Price’s amendment also would have cut an exemption from limits on truck length for some agricultural carriers in Oregon as well as language to tweak exemptions for truck weight in Kentucky.

The panel approved by voice vote an amendment by Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) to add language that "urges [DOT] to promptly report to the committees of jurisdiction any updated findings on the impact of increasing the length of twin-trailers from 28 feet to 33 feet."

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