We received an update email from the Truck Safety Coalition. Part of it is below. I wanted you to know what is going on since you’ve supported me through this roller coaster that is safety legislation.
“As you know, on Thursday June 19, the Senate began consideration of the FY 2015 Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations bill as part of a package of three appropriations bills. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), filed an amendment to the THUD bill which would protect the Hours of Service (HOS) rules governing rest periods and the amount of hours truck drivers may work each week. Joining Senator Booker in cosponsoring the amendment were Senators John D. Rockefeller (D-WV), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod C. Brown (D-OH), Richard J. Durbin (D-IL), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Brian E. Schatz (D-HI), and Chris S. Murphy (D-CT).
Senator Booker’s Amendment was introduced as a response to the language inserted into the bill at committee markup (Collins Amendment) which would increase the truck driver weekly work week to over 80 hours while a study was performed on the HOS restart provisions. The Booker Amendment would strip the Collins Amendment of its language to suspend the restart provisions, and prevent an increase in truck driver work hours, while preserving the study.
We have now learned that the THUD bill has been pulled from the Senate floor indefinitely due to unrelated issues on other legislation, and we need your support to ensure that when the THUD bill returns, if a vote is held, the Booker Amendment will have enough support to pass. It will likely be a very close vote. In addition, Senator Blunt (R-MO) has indicated that he may offer an amendment, identical to the Collins amendment, to the Senate Commerce Committee’s piece of the surface transportation authorization bill. Right now, we are unsure when the Commerce bill will come up for vote. But, as you can see, this dangerous anti-safety language will not be going away, and it is imperative that we keep the issue of truck driver fatigue in the media and public eye.”
This delay adds another wrinkle in the fight for safety. It’s difficult to keep our issue in front of the Senators for an extended time and the trucking interests have deep pockets and will be in the Senators’ ears constantly. I’ll keep you updated when I hear more. Meanwhile, if your Senator is listed above having cosponsored the Booker bill, please take a moment to call him or her and let them know you appreciate them trying to save lives on our roads.
And thank you very much for your support.