12/01/2015

Today the Congressional Conference Committee, tasked with reconciling the House and Senate highway bills, released the much anticipated conference committee report for the multi-year transportation reauthorization. TIA has advocated for over three years for the creation of a National Hiring Standard for entities that hire motor carriers.  Such a standard would eliminate the confusion caused by flawed data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) initiative, which dramatically increases the threat of negligent selection lawsuits for TIA members and their industry peers.

Unfortunately, at the eleventh-and-a-half hour, the National Hiring Standard was completely stripped from the conference report. TIA received strong support from our champions in Congress, including Rep. John Duncan from Tennessee and Senator Deb Fischer from Nebraska.  However, in order for the necessary bipartisan majority to move the bill to the President’s desk, the Conference Committee members made concessions and removed several of the most controversial provisions from the bill. TIA maintains that a legislative solution such as the National Hiring Standard is not controversial, but should be a common sense solution to reduce the existential threat of frivolous lawsuits based on flawed data.  TIA will continue to fight for the National Hiring Standard until the issues with the CSA initiative are corrected.

“Although this news is extremely disappointing, to get the language this far was no small feat. TIA’s Government Affairs team Nancy O’Liddy, Chris Burroughs, and Will Sehestedt did an amazing job. In the most do nothing Congress since the 1850’s, the transportation committees have been a shining exception. Your TIA team has gotten provisions in the last two major transportation bills. We can take pride in that. All of you who weighed in with their Members of Congress in support of this provision and those that made TIAPAC contributions played a key role in these efforts. Finally, I give a special thanks to C.H. Robinson, who put “boots on the ground” and was side by side with us throughout this fight. We may not have won this battle, but we have created a very loud and strong voice for the third-party logistics Industry. We will use that voice to continue the fight to bring sanity to carrier selection,” said TIA President & CEO Robert Voltmann.

The conference report contained language that will reform the CSA initiative. Specifically, the National Research Council will be required to conduct a study on several aspects of the CSA initiative. After studying and reporting back to Congress, the FMCSA will be required to implement the changes recommended by the Council. After those changes are made, a certification by the Inspector General of the DOT is required to ensure appropriate action by the FMCSA was taken. Additionally, all scoring and “analysis” within CSA will be removed from public view. Inspection data, violations, out-of-service orders, and absolute measures will remain publicly available within the initiative.

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