OOIDA: House highway bill was a vote against truckers

July 1, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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In a mostly partisan vote of 222-201, the U.S. House of Representatives approved a $715 billion highway bill on Thursday, July 1.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which opposes the bill because of such measures as a 167% increase to minimum insurance on motor carriers, said it was a vote against the nation’s truckers.

“It looks like Democrats are seriously concerned about maintaining their majority in the House,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said. “By including a massive increase in insurance requirements for truckers in this highway bill, they made a risky political calculation. Rather than producing a bill that supports the hard-working men and women of the trucking industry, they chose to help their most trusted campaign contributors make even more money from suing our members for crashes that most often aren’t their fault.”

OOIDA has dubbed the INVEST in America Act’s measure to increase motor carriers’ minimum liability insurance from $750,000 to $2 million the bill’s “poison pill.”

The Association contends that the measure has nothing to do with safety and is motivated by trial attorneys looking for larger payouts from trucking companies.

“(House Democrats) clearly think political contributions from trial lawyers are going to be more consequential in 2022 than the votes of America’s truckers and other blue-collar workers who would be negatively affected by the policies included in this bill,” Spencer said.

This is the second consecutive year that a Democratic majority in the House has passed a highway bill. Last year’s bill, which also included the controversial measure to nearly triple motor carriers’ minimum insurance, was stalled in the Senate.

OOIDA said this year’s House highway bill should expect a similar fate.

“Yet again, this bill has no chance to advance in the U.S. Senate, because it is full of controversial provisions that can’t garner sufficient bipartisan support,” said Collin Long, OOIDA’s director of government affairs.

OOIDA favors the Senate version of the highway bill, which does not include the minimum insurance increase. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.