The Senate will reconvene on June 19 and continue its consideration of an expansive fiscal 2015 funding bill that, among other things, would suspend for a one year a rule that puts limits on the time truckers can operate on roadways.
FOLLOW DEBATE: Senate considers amendment
Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) indicated the Senate will proceed to the bill officially, at which point senators will likely debate several amendments.
New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker has proposed an amendment that would undo a provision that calls for not funding last year’s changes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s hours-of-service restart rules. The agency also would be required to study the rule and justify its safety claims to Congress.
The provision was offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and it was adopted at a committee hearing by a 21-9 bipartisan vote. The FMCSA’s hours-of-service rule that took effect last summer mandates truck drivers have a 34-hour resting period between workweeks and include two consecutive 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods during that restart time off.
The rule is opposed by the American Trucking Associations, but Booker argued that suspending the agency’s rule would lead to an increase in the number of hours truckers are on the roads.
“Truck drivers are working extremely long days to deliver the goods we depend on, but it should never be at the cost of their safety and that of other drivers,” Booker said in a statement.
Senate floor managers had indicated debate on the funding bill and amendments would begin June 18, but disagreement over a path forward on the spending measure halted such debate.
Senate spending leaders are seeking support for a $126.2 billion spending measure that combines the fiscal 2015 Commerce-Justice-Science, the Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, and the Agriculture spending bills.
A senior Senate Democratic aide said consideration of the measure is expected to take up the entire day, and possibly slip into next week.