House Democrats One Step Closer to Hiking Insurance Costs for Trucking Businesses
Washington D.C. – Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have defeated a Republican-backed plan to stop a massive insurance hike on many small trucking businesses.
The House Rules Committee has chosen not to vote on an amendment to the Moving Forward Act (MFA-HR 2), a $1.5 trillion infrastructure spending package, which would have eliminated a provision requiring motor carriers to increase liability insurance coverage to at least $2 million.
The current minimum of $750,000 was established in 1980 and supporters for raising it argue an increase is long overdue.
An amendment to require the insurance hike was proposed by Rep. Chuy Garcia (D-IL) who said he introduced the measure “to support families recovering from crashes.”
Last week, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee approved Garcia’s plan.
However, a fellow Illinois Congressman and former truck driver, Rep. Mike Bost, then introduced a measure to stop Garcia’s amendment, but House Democrats have blocked it without even giving it a vote.
Trucking industry groups have lashed out against the MFA since Garcia’s amendment was added.
Notably, the Owner Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA), the Small Business in Transportation Coalition (SBTC) and the American Trucking Associations (ATA) have each expressed opposition in recent days.
“We’re disappointed House Democrats continue to prioritize increasing trial lawyer payouts over protecting the businesses and livelihoods of American truckers,” said Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs, in response to the latest developments. “While the House will not vote on the Bost amendment and HR2 will likely pass with a provision to dramatically increase truckers’ insurance rates, our fight is far from over.”
James Lamb, president of the SBTC called Garcia’s controversial amendment a “downright assault” on small trucking businesses.
An ATA spokesperson said raising the insurance minimum to $2 million would be an “arbitrary increase,” but stopped short of outright rejecting the idea of an increase.
The MFA is expected to pass the Democratically-controlled House, but could meet a different fate in the U.S. Senate.
Also making matters more tenuous is how election-year politics is playing into all of this.
Strategically, House Democratic leadership intends to pass the giant infrastructure spending package with the expectation it will likely be stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate.
This would allow Democrats to then argue President Donald Trump, along with the Republicans in the Senate, failed to deliver on one of his signature 2016 campaign promises of a “grand bargain” on infrastructure legislation.
Expect this to become a significant issue in the fall Presidential campaign battle.
TransportationNation.com will continue to track the progress of HR 2.