The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved a five-year Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) re-authorization bill that includes an amendment to federally pre-empt state laws requiring commercial truck drivers operating in interstate commerce to be paid for meal and rest times.
The bill passed by a 393-13 margin. The Senate must now pass its version of FAA reform, which also includes the federal pre-emption amendment. The House had approved the specific language yesterday.
Supporters of the amendment said it would restore Congress' intent when it pre-empted state economic regulation in 1994 and established national uniformity for motor carriers of property. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which with about 3 million members is the nation's largest business group, came out yesterday in support of the provision. The American Trucking Associations (ATA), the trade group representing mostly large fleets, has pushed aggressively for the amendment for several years.
Smaller truckers and the Teamsters union are fighting the amendment, as they have done in the past. They claimed the 1994 law pre-empted economic regulation by the states, not their power to regulate labor matters. They also warn that, should the provision become law, it would gut any role the states have in protecting drivers from not getting paid for time not spent driving.