ATA’s Chris Spear to Address Senate EPW Committee Feb. 15

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The leader of American Trucking Associations will appear before a congressional hearing Feb. 15 to mark the second time this month he addresses a transportation policy panel on Capitol Hill.

Chris Spear, ATA’s president, is scheduled to be among a panel of witnesses to inform senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee about fuel conditions across the surface transportation sector.

The Senate hearing is meant to help kick off the panel’s assignments related to fuel economy, climate change and supply chain connectivity.

Specific to fuel, Spear shared input from his organization during testimony Feb. 1 before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

ATA President Chris Spear

"Trucking will work with our partners in every mode of the supply chain," ATA President Chris Spear testified Feb. 1. (House T&I Committee Republicans via YouTube) 

“As Congress and the administration consider laws and regulations to meet ambitious environmental goals, ATA will evaluate proposals to determine whether they improve trucking’s emissions profile, are technology neutral, significantly increase the cost of maintenance, are thoroughly tested and are widely available to all segments of the industry,” Spear told House lawmakers in his prepared remarks.

“Trucking will work with our partners in every mode of the supply chain, the supplier community and regulators to develop and deploy technologies that can achieve major improvements in sustainability,” Spear added. “To accomplish those improvements, we need to ensure that the fuels that currently power our nation’s supply chains are affordable for trucking fleets of all sizes, that the costs of clean heavy-duty vehicles do not serve as financial barriers to entry and that national standards are put in place for key pollutants.”

Joining Spear at the Senate hearing will be Michael Graff, chairman and CEO of American Air Liquide Holdings Inc., and Geoff Cooper, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association.

Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) renewed calls for advancing President Joe Biden’s domestic agenda. Aspects of the president’s proposals call for the adoption of emerging vehicle technologies to pivot from long-standing approaches to fuel consumption.

After Biden’s State of the Union last week, Carper declared: “We must do more to ease the burdens on hardworking Delawareans and all Americans. This includes building on our progress to lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs for seniors and families across our nation.”

The chairman continued, “It includes ensuring we uphold our end of the bargain for our veterans and expanding access to mental health services. And it includes fighting to protect our basic rights and freedoms at home and upholding our commitment to defending democracy abroad. To put it in the president’s terms, we must finish the job”

Shelley Moore Capito


Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), the committee’s ranking member, joined fellow Republicans in pushing back on aspects of Biden’s agenda. Reacting to the State of the Union, she noted, “Listening to the president’s speech and the vice president — that they want to slough it off on the pandemic, and certainly that was a devastating event. But we’re living in the here and now, and I don’t think that is where they [the Biden administration] are.”

“Unlike Joe Biden and the Democrats, Senate Republicans are focused on fighting for Wyoming families and for every American,” said Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), a member of his caucus’ leadership team. “We are working to stop his reckless spending, make life more affordable, unleash Wyoming energy and secure the border. It’s time for Joe Biden to work with us to help Americans recover from the nightmare he caused.”

The Week Ahead (all times Eastern)

Feb. 15, 10 a.m.: The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee meets for a hearing on transportation fuels. Witnesses include Chris Spear, president of American Trucking Associations. Watch the hearing here.

Feb. 16, 10:30 a.m.: The Senate Finance Committee meets for a hearing titled, “Ending Trade that Cheats American Workers By Modernizing Trade Laws and Enforcement, Fighting Forced Labor, Eliminating Counterfeits, and Leveling the Playing Field.”

Freight Corridor

The Silver State received the funds.

Legislative Docket

Approving a regulatory framework for autonomous vehicles would facilitate the technology’s adoption throughout the national transportation landscape, top Republicans on a U.S. House committee indicated this month. Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Innovation, Data and Commerce Subcommittee, recently pointed to potential benefits that would result from a mainstream reliance on the technology.

Rep. Gus Bilirakis


“For something like autonomous vehicles, that will help senior citizens and Americans living with disabilities, it means reducing barriers to testing and setting the standards for how they will be adopted across the world, and provide certainty for businesses and consumers,” the congressman said at a hearing Feb. 1. “America’s global leadership depends on its people to be best in class, and we must give them the regulatory certainty on emerging technologies they need in order to live up to their legacy.”

Fellow Republican policymakers have signaled the potential for considering autonomous vehicle legislation during this session of Congress. They also have emphasized a need for preserving a domestic technological edge over China.


The transportation committee in the U.S. House announced that Rep. John Duarte (R-Calif.) will serve as vice chairman of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee. The congressman was among other lawmakers tapped to serve as subpanel vice chairpersons.

I have full confidence that our subcommittee vice chairs will be effective contributors and leaders.


Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), Transportation and Infrastructure Committee chairman

Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.)

“I have full confidence that our subcommittee vice chairs will be effective contributors and leaders on their subcommittees, and they will play a crucial role in our active agenda for the 118th Congress,” committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said Feb. 9. “I look forward to what they will bring to the table as we develop solutions to improve our infrastructure, strengthen transportation programs, and help alleviate ongoing energy and supply chain problems on behalf of the American people.”

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Robert Hampshire, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, on Feb. 7

Robert Hampshire

We publish Mondays when Congress is in session. See previous installments of Capitol Agenda here. Email with tips. Follow us @eugenemulero and @transporttopics.

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