A coalition of more than 60 organizations, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, says the 167% increase in minimum insurance for motor carriers would be a blow to the economy.
The OOIDA-led coalition sent a letter on Monday, June 28, to the House Rules Committee asking lawmakers to support an amendment that would remove an insurance increase from the House Freeways Bill. The Truck Insurance Coalition includes organizations from the trucking, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, materials and towing industries.
“Increasing minimum liability coverage would hurt all businesses transporting goods, not just long-haul trucking operations,” the Truck Insurance Coalition wrote. “As the diversity of our coalition illustrates, the impact would be felt in many sectors of the economy that have worked to help our country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic… This policy clearly has not its place in legislation designed to support economic recovery and foster growth.
The House Freeway Bill, or the INVEST in America Act, includes a measure that would increase minimum motor carrier liability insurance from $ 750,000 to $ 2 million.
Rep. Mike Bost, R-Ill., Is proposing an amendment that would remove the truck insurance increase from the bill.
Bost, who grew up in a family of truckers, also proposed the amendment during the House Transportation & Infrastructure markup hearing earlier this month. During the debate, he made passionate remarks on why the amendment was needed and called the increase a “punishment” for the country’s truck drivers.
“Over the past year, during the time of this pandemic, we have relied quite enough on workers driving trucks across the country,” Bost said. “These men and women continue their essential work of stocking store shelves and making sure food is on everyone’s table and (us getting) the supplies we needed while a lot of between us were trapped in our homes. Now, after praising these people for their great work, this legislation turns around and punishes them. “
Several other House Republicans voted in favor of the amendment during the 30-minute debate. Regardless, the committee mostly stuck to party lines, rejecting Bost’s amendment by a recorded vote of 38-30.
The Truck Insurance Coalition wants the rules committee to move the Bost amendment forward so that it can be debated in plenary.
“If the House allows this policy to stay in the freeways bill, it would put countless small businesses and family businesses at risk, as well as blue collar jobs,” the coalition wrote. “We therefore ask you to return Representative Bost’s amendment in order and allow all representatives to consider this matter on its own merits.”
The coalition notes that the current minimum insurance is adequate for over 99% of cases and that there is no evidence that the increased cost of insurance would have a positive effect on safety.
“There is no reliable research indicating that an increase of any amount would help reduce accident rates,” the coalition wrote.
The coalition suggests that the House should remove the insurance provision from the bill for it to be enacted. While the Democratic majority in the House included an increase in insurance in their bill, the bipartisan version of the Senate highway bill left out an increase in insurance.
“Notably, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transport passed its part of the highway bill with a wide bipartisan margin, and this bill did not include any changes to minimum insurance levels,” he said. writes the coalition. “In order to enable the House to pass a bill that could garner bipartisan support in the Senate and ultimately be enacted, we ask that Bost Amendment No.220 be passed so that the House can remove this damaging provision. of the INVEST. in America Act.
The Rules of Procedure Committee is due to meet on Monday 28 and Tuesday 29 June.