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Congress pushes off final action on government funding

As expected, Congress avoided a government-wide shutdown by continuing funding through December 9 – a month beyond the election. For the most part, any remaining significant legislative issues will be resolved as part of a final fiscal 2017 appropriations law. For motor carriers, still pending are a possible resolution of the hours-of-service restart provision; a prohibition on state regulation of driver meal and rest breaks; and a measure to block FMCSA from revising carrier safety fitness determinations rules pending the ongoing study on the Safety Measurement System and FMCSA’s subsequent corrective action plan.

The Senate and House versions of the DOT funding bill both address the HOS restart issues, albeit in different ways. The House bill, which was approved by the Appropriations Committee but not passed by the full House, included language on driver meal and rest breaks and on the SFD rule. The Senate bill also includes language that would mandate a final rule on speed limiters. OOIDA recently asked the Senate Appropriations Committee to give up on that provision as part of the final negotiations on government funding.

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