The move last week by Republican congressmen to remove Rep Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) as speaker of the house has thrown into question the fate of several bills affecting the trucking sector, and could even threaten efforts in Congress to reach a bipartisan spending agreement before the current deal expires on November 17, according to the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA).
The unprecedented parliamentary procedure is significant because without an elected speaker, all proceedings in the House are stalled, the NMFTA said in an email covering legislative updates concerning the trucking sector. The NMFTA is a nonprofit membership organization headquartered in Alexandria, Virginia, that represents the interests of less-than-truckload (LTL) carriers.
Specific bills that the group is tracking include:
• Truck Parking Safety Improvement Act, which would establish $755 million in grant funding to increase the number of safe truck parking spaces.
• Veteran Improvement Commercial Driver License Act, which cuts red tape for military veterans attempting to leverage their GI bill benefits to receive training for a CDL.
• The Freedom to Invest in Tomorrow’s Workforce Act, that increases flexibility for funds invested in a higher education savings plan, like a 529, to use them for career and technical education programs, including CDL training.
• LICENSE Act, that would modernize the rules for obtaining a CDL by making permanent key waivers adopted in the pandemic era to streamline the process.
• Modern, Clean, and Safe Trucks Act, which would repeal the 12% federal excise tax, or FET, on heavy trucks and trailers, making such trucks more affordable and passing the savings along the supply chain to consumers.
Meanwhile, while the House navigates these “historically uncharted waters,” the Senate is attempting to assemble packages of several spending bills, also known as “minibus” bills, the group said. “NMFTA will work with members of both parties to ensure that our priorities are reflected in any package that includes transportation policies,” NMFTA said in the newsletter.