The Senate Appropriations Committee easily advanced a transportation spending bill on Thursday containing a trucking provision safety advocates have been pushing against this week.
In a 30-0 vote, lawmakers reported a measure out of committee that would provide $56.5 billion in discretionary spending to the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and other related agencies in fiscal 2017.
The figure is $2.9 billion less than the president’s budget request and $827 million less than the current funding level.
The spending bill contains a technical fix to a drafting error made in last year’s government spending bill. A provision in that bill said proposed changes to the hours of service rule for truck drivers — which were enacted in 2013 but later suspended — cannot be implemented until the DOT proves the regulation would improve driver health and safety.
But legislators left out essential language clarifying what would happen if the agency fails to find that the rule is beneficial for drivers, which would force the DOT to revert to rules put in place more than a decade ago.