House Opens Debate on Spending Bill; Includes Amendments to Prohibit Tolls

The U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 6 opened debate on the chamber’s consideration of a fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending package. Of importance to NATSO members are two amendments that would prohibit the use of federal funds to collect tolls on Interstates, both of which passed by voice vote, as well as the rejection of an amendment that would have delayed the implementation of electronic logging devices by the trucking industry. 
The House Rules Committee on Sept. 5 approved a rule that would combine the House-crafted minibus—which contains eight of the 12 spending bills—with the remaining four spending bills that were previously passed by the House.  The rule teed up more than 100 amendments to the Agriculture, Homeland Security, State-Foreign Operations, and Transportation-HUD sections of the package for debate on the House floor on Wednesday night.
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) offered an amendment that would effectively ban tolling on Pennsylvania’s Interstate 80. Similarly, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) offered an amendment to prevent the use of federal funds to establish tolling on Washington and Oregon's Interstate 5 and Interstate 205. Both measures passed and would effectively prevent the U.S. Department of Transportation from approving tolls on those Interstates.
The House also 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 House will continue to consider amendments to the remaining sections of the minibus—Commerce-Justice-Science, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, and Labor-HHS-Education—and is subsequently expected to pass the omnibus spending package later this week.
However, it is unlikely the Senate will take up the spending package, but will instead write its own. On Sept. 6, President Trump and Congressional leaders agreed to pass a continuing resolution that would fund the government through December 15 and delay final spending decisions until that time.




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