First and foremost, TIA applauds the more than 700 members who sent letters to their Members of Congress asking for support of the Duncan/Paulsen amendment. This is by far the most successful advocacy campaign TIA has undertaken, and it truly made a difference.

The Duncan/Paulsen amendment to include “unrated carriers” into the National Hiring Standard was made in order by the House Rules Committee late Tuesday night into early Wednesday morning. By making the amendment in order, the amendment was able to be considered on the House floor Wednesday, Nov. 4. TIA staff and our partner organizations worked all 435 Members of Congress to support this important legislative fix, and we heard from several offices about the letters you all sent.

Around 5:00 PM Wednesday, Nov. 4, Congressman Jimmy Duncan (R-TN) rose to speak on the House floor in support of his amendment. Prior to Congressman Duncan taking the floor of the House, he had a meeting with House Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-OR). Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio asked Congressman Duncan to please withdraw his amendment with full assurances that this issue would be addressed and corrected during the House and Senate conference, as the two chambers will need to reconcile the differences between the two bills. Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio would not have been able to support the amendment on the House floor, because of their agreement not to support an amendment that would change the language of the base text.

This was a step in the right direction for TIA. This ensures that our National Hiring Standard remains viable during conference. In a Congress that continues to pride itself on bi-partisanship, the National Hiring Standard was one of the few “controversial” issues that was included in the base text of the legislation. The majority of the other “controversial” provisions were eliminated or never considered for inclusion to the bill. By asking Mr. Duncan to withdraw his amendment, it demonstrated the need and desire of Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio to fix this issue for the betterment of the industry.

The House of Representatives just passed the six-year bi-partisan Transportation Reauthorization Bill on a vote of 363-64. The House and Senate will now immediately move to a conference committee to reconcile the differences. The current highway funding package expires on Nov. 20, so we expect an expedited and efficient conference. We expect Congress to have a bill on President Obama’s desk prior to the Nov. 20 expiration.

We cannot stress this enough, this progression has a lot to do with all the support and advocacy efforts we received from TIA members. TIA staff will continue to work with Congress to ensure that this language is corrected during conference, and the frivolous lawsuits based on flawed CSA data will be a thing of the past.

If you have any questions, please contact Chris Burroughs (burroughs@tianet.org, 703.299.5705).