House Passes $1.2 Trillion Spending Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 211-198 on Sept. 14 in favor of $1.2 trillion fiscal 2018 spending bill that includes several provisions of interest to the truckstop and travel plaza industry.

H.R. 3354, known as the “Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act,” contains two amendments that would ban tolling in Pennsylvania, Oregon and Washington, as well as a federal preemption of state truck driver meal and rest breaks.

H.R. 3354 has little chance of passing the Senate, however, despite reflecting a number of Republican priorities.

To ensure that government funds continue to flow, Congress passed a spending patch, H.R. 601 (115), a week earlier to continue federal funding at current levels through Dec. 8.

An amendment offered by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) that would effectively ban tolling on Pennsylvania’s Interstate 80 passed, as did an amendment offered by Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) to prevent the use of federal funds to establish tolling on Washington and Oregon's Interstate 5 and Interstate 205. Both measures would prevent the U.S. Department of Transportation from approving tolls on those Interstates.

The House rejected an amendment seeking to delay implementation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMCSA) electronic logging device mandate (ELDs), slated for December of this year. The rejection was applauded by the American Trucking Associations (ATA), which said the time for debate on electronic logging is over. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) expressed disappointment that the ELD amendment did not pass, however, arguing that there are too many unanswered questions about the technical specifications and enforcement guidelines of the ELD mandate, including issues related to enforcement, connectivity, data transfers, and cybersecurity vulnerabilities.


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