GOP house leaders oppose hours proposal

President Obama should withdraw the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s proposed hours-of-service rule because its costs would hurt the U.S. economy, House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor wrote Oct. 5 in a letter to Obama.

“Current rules have led to record low levels of crashes and fatalities involving trucks,” Boehner and Cantor wrote. The White House and Congress should work together to lift a potential “$1 billion in regulatory burden.”

Their letter comes two weeks after a similar Sept. 23 letter to Obama from House Transportation Committee Chairman John Mica. The Florida Republican wrote the proposed rule would be an unnecessary and costly regulatory burden on truckers, given the improved record of truck safety since the 2008 rule became effective.

Three other Republican committee members signed Mica’s letter: Tennessee’s John Duncan, highway subcommittee chairman; Pennsylvania’s Bill Schuster, chairman of the railroads, pipelines and hazardous materials subcommittee; and Missouri’s Sam Graves, committee member and Small Business Committee chairman. Should FMCSA proceed with the new rule, the four House members would weigh options that could include hearings or legislation.

Under the current proposal, FMCSA is considering whether to reduce the daily driving limit from 11 hours to 10 hours and has proposed to limit the 34-hour restart provision by requiring it include two periods from midnight to 6 a.m. and limiting its use to once per week.