T&I Committee Approves Package of Bills to Strengthen America’s Supply Chain
Today, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee voted to approve a slate of measures to strengthen the Nation’s supply chain and protect Americans and the economy from future supply chain disruptions.
“The Biden Administration’s big spending, anti-energy agenda led to sky high inflation and exacerbated a critical supply chain crisis,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO). “Today, the Committee took action to strengthen our supply chain in numerous ways by removing regulatory barriers, improving supply chain efficiency, and promoting smarter infrastructure investment.”
H.R. 3399, the Soo Locks Security and Economic Reporting Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. John James (R-MI), directs a federal study of potential security risks of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan – a critical supply chain link between the United States and Canada – and the economic ramifications in the event of their operational failure.
“Michigan is the hub of America’s vehicle and military industry. We’re also home to the third-largest land border in the country,” said Rep. James. “Defending our national security and fortifying our economy transcends partisan politics. I’m grateful to have bipartisan support from both Rep. Scholten and Rep. Bergman in our effort to protect the Soo Locks for generations to come.”
H.R. 1836, the Ocean Shipping Reform Implementation Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), builds upon the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, including by allowing the Federal Maritime Commission to review complaints about market manipulation and anti-competitive operations of maritime exchanges.
“The Ocean Shipping Reform Act made a positive difference in our ocean shipping supply chain, but there is more to be done,” said Rep. Johnson. “Passing OSRA 2.0 is crucial to strengthen the FMC’s authority to crack down on unfair trade practices and combat China’s influence over United States supply chains.”
H.R. 2367, the Truck Parking Improvement Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), addresses the significant lack of truck parking by increasing resources for the construction of new Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) parking, additional parking at current CMV parking areas, and improvements to existing CMV parking. It also requires CMV parking spaces constructed to be accessible to all CMVs without charge.
“I grew up in a family trucking business,” said Rep. Bost. “I understand how difficult, and oftentimes dangerous, it can be when America’s truckers are forced to park in an unsafe location. By expanding access to parking options for truckers, we are making our roads safer for all commuters and ensuring that goods and supplies are shipped to market in the most efficient way possible. This is a matter of public safety; and I’m proud to have led on this important legislation.”
H.R. 3013, the Licensing Individual Commercial Exam-takers Now Safely and Efficiently (LICENSE) Act of 2023, introduced by Rep. Darin LaHood (R-IL), eliminates regulatory barriers and addresses truck driver shortages by making permanent two commonsense waivers issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) during the COVID-19 pandemic to allow for more efficient Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) testing.
“Trucking workforce shortages continue to be a persistent challenge for small businesses throughout America, and the downstream effects are harming working families,” said Rep. LaHood. “As we face unprecedented supply chain challenges, this legislation will help streamline the process to obtain a commercial driver’s license and reduce unnecessary red tape. I am pleased that the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has passed this commonsense legislation and hope to see it come before the full House for a vote soon.”
H.R. 3318, establishing a 10 percent axle weight variance for dry bulk, introduced Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), allows for a 10 percent axle variance for dry bulk, without any increase in the overall federal gross vehicle weight (GVW) limit. The bill makes an allowance for the fact that dry bulk – nonliquid cargos such as grains, plastic pellets, aggregates, etc. – can shift during transportation and redistribute a truck’s weight. The bill ensures trucks don’t have to unnecessarily reduce their loads.
“Commodities such as flour or rice have the tendency to shift when the driver comes to a stop, even when packaged properly,” said Rep. Crawford. “Current law doesn’t take into account that this movement is inevitable. This legislation is a commonsense solution for truckers transporting dry bulk by giving more flexibility for weight per axle requirements.”
H.R. 3316, streamlining the environmental review process for major projects, introduced by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), extends One Federal Decision (OFD) environmental review streamlining provisions – such as combining environmental documents among agencies, concurrent agency reviews, creating reasonable page limits for documents, and reasonable time limits for reviews – to port, aviation, and pipeline projects, as applicable. OFD was already approved in law for highway projects under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
“The permitting process for construction projects is antiquated and adds years to the completion of vital infrastructure,” said Rep. Crawford. “In the era of rapid inflation, delays also become very costly. By passing the One Federal Decision For All Act, Congress is removing barriers and helping complete infrastructure projects in a timely manner.”
H.R. 3365, the Supply Chain Improvement Act, introduced by Rep. John Duarte (R-CA), ensures that priority consideration is given to projects that would improve or build resiliency into the supply chain under the INFRA and MEGA discretionary grant programs.
“To lower the cost of living, we must strengthen our supply chain. The past three years have shown the disastrous consequences that can occur from mismanaged highways, ports, and railroads. Improving our supply chain means affordable gas, cheaper groceries, and a strong economy,” said Rep. Duarte. “I am proud to have introduced the Supply Chain Improvement Act, a bill which unleashes American industry and gets our country to normal. This legislation prioritizes infrastructure projects that improve the supply chain for certain U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) grant programs. Simply put, this bill directs federal funding towards critical infrastructure projects that help Valley families.”
H.R. 1500, the Intelligent Transportation Integration Act, introduced by Rep. Garret Graves (R-LA), directs the Secretary of Transportation to create and implement a program to bolster transportation management and the efficiency of Federal-aid highways by leveraging third-party data.
“We are using traffic light technology from the 1800s to manage traffic in 2023. Thankfully, our horses are now faster, and we’ve paved roads since then,” said Rep. Graves. “Folks shouldn’t be sitting and waiting for the stop light when they are the only car at the signal. Traffic needs to be managed as a network – dynamically juggling freight and commuter demands so folks can get from point A to point B faster, safer, and more efficiently. Our bill will deploy smarter technologies to meet these demands and ensure that data is available to our transportation planners who can build a more efficient system for the future.”
H.R. 915, the Motor Carrier Safety Selection Standard Act, introduced by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), increases efficiency and highway safety in the supply chain network by requiring the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to develop a new Safety Fitness Determination process to change the way a motor carrier is rated.
“Setting a safety standard for commercial motor vehicles is important for the well-being of everyone on our roads,” said Rep. Gallagher. “This bill establishes commonsense guidelines for motor carriers to follow and I am glad to see it is one step closer to becoming law.”
H.R. 3317, the Rolling Stock Protection Act, introduced by Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR), closes a legal loophole and prohibits four public transportation agencies from continuing to use Federal Transit Administration (FTA) funds to procure rolling stock from State Owned Enterprises (SOEs), including a Communist Chinese-controlled manufacturer.
“The Chinese Communist Party should have no role in our nation’s transportation system, especially at a time when our adversaries target critical infrastructure,” said Rep. Crawford. “Unfortunately, waivers have allowed for some cities to be exempt from this commonsense rule, which hurts American companies that supply parts to these vehicles and is unwise for both economic and national security reasons.”
H.R. 3372, establishing a safety data collection program for certain 6-axle vehicles, introduced by Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-SD), establishes a voluntary 10-year pilot program for states to increase truck weights on federal interstates up to 91,000 lbs. on six axles.
“Increasing the amount of cargo a truck can carry on the road with the addition of a sixth axle is a safe and efficient way to further streamline our supply chain,” said Rep. Johnson. “This commonsense update to the rules of the road lowers greenhouse gas emissions, mitigates factors leading to supply chain backlogs, reduces damage to roads, and provides an extra set of breaks to increase stopping capacity and safety. The demand is there to carry more goods, it’s time to modernize.”
H.R. 2948, the Carrying Automobiles Responsibly and Safely (CARS) Act, introduced by Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX), ensures continued efficiency in the supply chain by allowing automobile transporters to continue carrying the same number of vehicles as they currently do. The bill addresses the increasing weight of newer vehicles, allowing a 10 percent weight increase for certain types of automobile transporters.
“Car haul carriers across the nation have been backed into a corner by the Biden Administration’s supply chain crisis. The CARS Act would ensure vehicle transportation does not fall behind by restoring lost load capacity to transport carriers that are witnessing a surge in heavier cars on the market,” said Rep. Gooden. “This bill is a simple solution to a growing industry-wide problem, and I appreciate the support of my colleagues and countless stakeholders in the industry that worked with me on the CARS Act to sustain our supply chain.”
Additional measures passed by the Committee today include:
More information from today’s markup, including recorded votes taken, will be posted here.