House passes THUD bill and prohibits increasing trucker insurance requirements

By David Tanner, Land Line senior editor | 6/10/2015

The U.S. House of Representatives put its final stamp on an annual spending bill for transportation that includes numerous provisions of interest to truckers. For starters, it prohibits FMCSA from pursuing a costly increase to the insurance requirements for motor carriers, something that OOIDA says is a win for small-business truckers.

Rep. Matthew Cartwright, D-Pa., had offered an amendment – which was soundly defeated during last week’s debate on amendments – that would have stripped language from the House Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill and allowed FMCSA to proceed with increasing insurance requirements.

The passage of the full THUD bill, HR2577, ensures that no federal money will be spent to increase motor carrier insurance requirements. The House vote was 216 in favor, 210 against.

“House passage of the transportation appropriations bill, along with the bipartisan defeat of the Cartwright amendment, sends a strong signal that the FMCSA is going down the wrong path with their rush to arbitrarily raise financial responsibility requirements for motor carriers,” OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Ryan Bowley told Land Line.

“OOIDA urges the Senate to follow the House’s lead and pass a THUD bill that halts this anti-small business rulemaking.”

Land Line Magazine has pointed out that trial lawyers and self-insured mega carriers stood to gain the most from an increase in insurance requirements.

The annual appropriations bill – one of 12 spending bills that Congress passes to keep government agencies funded and running – calls for $55 billion to be spent on transportation, housing and urban development in the coming fiscal year.

The bill cuts $242 million out of Amtrak’s budget. It also allows the length of “pup” trailers in combination, currently at 26 feet, to be increased to 33 feet. This issue is not over yet as far as truckers and other stakeholders are concerned.

The THUD bill is not law yet. The Senate must pass its own version, and then the two chambers must agree on final language before sending it on to the president for signature.

See related stories:
House says no to burdening truckers with increased insurance requirements
Here’s how lawmakers voted on trucking insurance requirements
Analysis – Cartwright bill: An ambulance chasing attorney’s dream?

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