ELD delay efforts await Congress' return from recess

By Jami Jones, Land Line managing editor | 9/1/2017

When Congress returns from its August recess Tuesday, Sept. 5, there will be two pieces of legislation seeking a delay of the electronic logging mandate waiting on them.

Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, has introduced both a standalone bill and an amendment to an omnibus appropriations bill seeking delays of the logging mandate.

Babin’s standalone bill is the ELD Extension Act of 2017. This bill seeks to delay the compliance deadline of the upcoming regulation until December 2019.

Throughout the recess, more lawmakers have signed on in support of the bill, HR3282. Beltway insiders indicate several more lawmakers are poised to add their support to the standalone bill once Congress resumes. Currently, there are 43 co-sponsors.

A number of trade and industry groups, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, are fully supporting Babin’s bill and amendment.

The Texas lawmaker doubled down on his efforts to get a delay by introducing two amendments to the transportation portion of the appropriations bill HR3354. Both amendments would achieve the same outcome, a one-year delay, but ahead of the deadline. Babin had not decided which language he preferred, according to his staff.

Earlier this week, he withdrew one of the two amendments, leaving Amendment No. 35 intact and ready for consideration.

The amendment is not the first time a delay of the ELD mandate has been addressed during the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) appropriations legislative process.

Late July 17, the House Committee on Appropriations voted on the THUD bill. The committee held a markup hearing and voted 31-20 to report the bill to the full House for consideration.

The Committee issued a report to accompany the bill, which details the members’ thinking and recommendations to the full House when considering the bill. While report language does not necessarily carry the weight of law, it outlines the “intent of Congress” and directs actions by agencies.

The report accompanying the THUD bill details concerns over the impending logging mandate.

“In light of the heavy burden of this mandate, especially on small carriers, the Committee directs the Department (of Transportation) to analyze whether a full or targeted delay in ELD implementation and enforcement would be appropriate and, if so, what options DOT has within its statutory authority to provide temporary regulatory relief until all ELD implementation challenges can be resolved,” the report states.

To underscore the committee’s concern, it ordered the FMCSA to report back to both the House and Senate committees within 60 days of the passage of the THUD legislation.

The House is set to pick up consideration of the transportation appropriations bill once they return from their August recess on Sept. 5.

OOIDA has issued Calls to Action to its membership, encouraging members as well as their friends and family to call their members of the House.

“We have made significant strides toward a delay, and we cannot stop now,” said OOIDA Director of Government Affairs Mike Matousek. “We need our members to call and encourage support of Congressman Babin’s bill and his amendment to the THUD bill.

“OOIDA members have already laid the groundwork for a delay or repeal. By actively calling and writing their lawmakers on the impending ELD mandate, many members of the House should be versed on the problems that lie ahead for this mandate and hopefully be willing to step in and support a delay.”

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