Feinstein Expected to Revive Driver-Rest Debate on Senate Floor
Posted at 10:59 a.m. on June 16, 2014
Feinstein (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Susan Collins squared off a couple of weeks ago over a safety rule for truck drivers, and the debate is expected to arise again this week as the full Senate considers the annual Transportation-HUD spending bill.
Collins is taking aim at portions of a regulation that orders drivers to take a 34-hour rest period in between workweeks, with those hours covering at least two consecutive nights between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. She says the rule causes many nighttime drivers to shift their schedules, putting more trucks on the roads during the day and raising the likelihood of accidents. Collins’ office says her proposal would allow the 34-hour “restart” more than once a week and it would not mandate the 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. hours for two consecutive nights.
The Maine Republican succeeded in inserting her proposal into the spending bill before the Appropriations Committee approved the legislation on June 5. She has the support of the American Trucking Associations, which represents drivers.
Feinstein, a California Democrat, “made impassioned speech” opposing Collins’ amendment at that markup, writes David Harrison on CQ.com’s transportation blog. “She brought up the issue again last week, after the New Jersey Turnpike crash that killed comedian James McNair and injured comedian and actor Tracy Morgan.”
Feinstein is likely to try to remove Collins’ language from the bill this week on the Senate floor. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the chairwoman of the subcommittee that handles the Transportation-HUD bill, supports Feinstein’s effort.
The $54.4 billion legislation is part of a three-bill “minibus” of spending measures that the Senate is expected to consider this week.
Correction, June 16, 1:35 p.m.:
Corrects description of Collins’ amendment.