Build Back Better
Both the House and Senate were in recess this week, but negotiations continue on forging a deal on a more targeted Build Back Better bill that can pass the Senate. On Tuesday, Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)—Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee—announced that Senate Democrats would soon unveil a compromise measure built around green energy tax credits and a number of health care and prescription drug pricing provisions. As soon as details are available, we will provide a summary and analysis to you.
If this smaller package materializes, ABMA will be closely tracking the revenue raisers identified to pay for these provisions and urge lawmakers to steer away from funding these provisions through increased taxes on small and medium sized businesses.
Transportation/Supply Chain—Truck Weights
Earlier this month, a bipartisan letter signed by 14 House members was sent to the President urging the administration to increase the gross vehicle weight limit on federal interstates. The letter references the fact that California Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced that California will issue temporary permits to increase weight limits for trucks weighing up to 88,000 pounds, an increase from the federally set 80,000 pound weight limit on federal interstates. In addition Governor Mike DeWine reinstated an executive order that allows trucks in Ohio to carry up to 90,000 pounds on federal interstate highways. The letter goes on to emphasize that, “Allowing for additional capacity will immediately provide relief from the current supply chain crisis. These actions will prevent trucks from being sent out one quarter empty, can significantly ease the current supply chain burdens, and again show that increasing gross vehicle weight limits is a safe, environmentally-friendly and efficient solution.”
Truck weight reform has historically faced tough sledding in Congress. Highway safety advocates, many of whom are funded by the Class 1 railroads, continue to oppose any lifting of the arbitrary 80,000 pound weight limit on federal interstate highways. This despite the fact that rigs exceeding 80,000 pounds are traveling on state roads all day every day.
The ABMA team will continue to monitor this situation closely and will be joining allied associations in the supply chain on common sense truck weight proposals that may surface in the coming weeks and months to help alleviate supply challenges being experienced across the economy.
Career and Technical Education
Earlier this month, ABMA learned that we will be losing a fierce champion of career and technical education in the House of Representatives. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) announced that he is retiring after this session of Congress. Rep. Langevin is the co-chair of the House Career and Technical Education Caucus, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers that support federal investment in CTE and policies that promote skilled worker career paths. His leadership in Congress on this critical issue will be missed.