Meal, Rest Break Pre-emption Not Included in FY2017 Budget Agreement

A meal and rest break provision sought by trucking industry leaders was not attached to legislation that would keep the federal government funded through the remainder of the fiscal year.

Opponents of the provision succeeded in removing the provision from a House version of the funding bill, according to a legislative summary Senate Democrats provided.

Trucking executives led by American Trucking Associations had expressed optimism about the pre-emption provision’s inclusion in a fiscal 2017 funding measure. In a statement to its members earlier this year, ATA explained: “Without uniform federal laws and regulations governing motor carriers, multiple layers of rules threaten to impair and impede the movement of freight throughout the country, creating a substantially burdensome and redundant system of rules for operation.”

A pre-emption provision would clarify a requirement in a 1994 aviation law to block a California law signed in 2011. The California law requires employers to provide a “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for employees who work more than five hours a day as well as a second “duty-free” 30-minute meal break for people who work more than 10 hours a day.

House lawmakers will take up the legislation, known as an omnibus bill, early in the week of May 1. Then, the House-passed bill would need to clear the Senate and be signed by the president by May 5 to avoid a shutdown of federal agencies.

The legislation also would provide funds for Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants for infrastructure projects, invest in positive train control implementation grants, as well as oversight of automated vehicle technology.

“This legislation will fund critical federal government activities, including our national defense, and enact responsible funding decisions to target U.S. investments where they are needed the most," House Appropriations Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said on May 1. "It also maintains and enhances policies that bolster economic growth and support the core values that our nation is built upon.”