If the Landry-Rahall amendment is enacted, can it stop the EOBR mandate?

By Rod Nofziger, OOIDA Chief of Staff

Although the recently passed highway legislation included a government mandate for EOBRs, some major pushback quickly followed in the form of an amendment to a separate spending bill going through Congress. That bill – called an appropriations bill – controls the Department of Transportation’s purse strings. 

In July, the “approps” bill passed the House with an amendment that specifically says no to bankrolling a mandate for electronic on-board recording devices on trucks.

The amendment – sponsored by U.S. Reps. Jeff Landry (3rd Congressional District of Louisiana) and co-sponsored by Reps. Nick Rahall (WV-3), Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-3), Tom Graves (GA-9) and Bill Huizenga (MI-2) – prohibits the DOT from using federal tax money to pursue any requirement pertaining to GPS-based tracking devices in cars or trucks. What that means is that if the bill is enacted, all DOT agencies including FMCSA will be prohibited from using any taxpayer resources to complete or implement a rulemaking to mandate EOBRs.

The spending bill still has to go to the Senate and that could be sometime this fall.

In the meantime, there’s a lot of speculation going on. I recently read an article in another trade pub reporting that the Landry-Rahall Amendment will do nothing if enacted and that it is just “political grandstanding.” That’s just plain wrong.

To put a rulemaking into effect, FMCSA must use its staff, its computers and various other resources – all of which are funded via the transportation appropriations bill.

I have also heard suggestions that private companies will just give FMCSA money to complete the EOBR rulemaking again. Those inferences are wrong, too.  

If the Landry-Rahall Amendment becomes law, FMCSA will be prohibited from doing any work on an EOBR regulation during fiscal year 2013, which runs from Oct. 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013. LL