Four House Democrats join Republicans to save the truckers

Four House Democrats join Republicans to save the truckers
(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, File)

Save the truckers! Save the supply chain, too. The Biden administration’s goal of eliminating gas-powered trucks hit a speed bump Tuesday when four House Democrats crossed party lines and voted with Republicans to pass a resolution to reject a Biden administration environmental regulation that targets heavy-duty vehicle tailpipe emissions.

The resolution was introduced by Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) as a companion bill in April to one that Senator Deb Fischer, a Republican from Nebraska, introduced in the Senate two months earlier. The vote was 221-203. Nehls is a member of the Transportation Committee’s Highways and Transit subcommittee.

Nehls said Washington bureaucrats are on a climate justice crusade. Biden’s EPA is out of control.

“Folks, I want to be crystal clear today,” Nehls remarked on the House floor ahead of the vote. “Woke bureaucrats in Washington are on a climate justice crusade using the heavy hand of government to go after the trucking industry that keeps America moving. And in the last three decades, we’ve made significant, significant strides in the right direction to decrease emissions and increase efficiency.”

“The EPA unilaterally imposed this detrimental rule which could lead to a litany of further supply chain disruptions across the country, hit the smaller mom-and-pop trucking companies the hardest and pass along increased costs to the American consumer,” he said. “This is exactly why it is imperative that the House passes this joint resolution to nullify this burdensome regulation.”

The Biden administration’s EPA said in December that the new rules were the “strongest-ever national clean air standards to cut smog- and soot-forming emissions from heavy-duty trucks.” The rules went into effect on March 27 but will be implemented for new trucks sold after 2027. The new regulations are more than 80% stricter than current regulations. The Biden administration claims it will prevent up to 2,900 premature deaths and fight asthma by eliminating 3.1M cases.

The cost of these new regulations is estimated at $39B. House Republicans called the regulations “onerous” as they pointed out that it hurts small trucking businesses. The cost of the technology needed to comply with the changes would result in more expensive freight costs and few trucks on the road. More than 30 senators introduced the Senate resolution to reject the rule. The Senate passed the resolution in a 50-49 vote on April 26.

Biden has vowed to veto the resolution. There aren’t enough votes to override the veto if the close vote in both chambers is any indication of where lawmakers stand when it comes to green overreach. Progressives beholden to environmental whackos claim that the new regulations are necessary to protect public health. Government overreach is always justified in terms that government bureaucrats know what is best. In this case, the overreach would destroy mom and pop trucking companies and put additional financial burdens on all trucking companies. When the trucking industry experiences higher costs in order to do business, those increases are passed down to consumers. That’s the last thing American consumers need right now as families struggle to pay bills and purchase everyday necessities in Biden’s economy.

Only one Democrat crossed the aisle to push the measure through by a single vote in the Senate. One Republican voted against the resolution in the House. Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) said it is “bewildering” that Democrats would choose to “reward the courage and perseverance” trucking companies showed during the COVID-19 pandemic “with onerous and expensive new regulations that will have a devastating effect upon their livelihoods.” Truckers who kept the supply chain moving throughout the pandemic should be praised for staying on the job and doing what they could, as other frontline workers did, not punished with such draconian measures.

The EPA estimates the technology necessary to comply with the new standards will cost from $2,568 to $8,304 per vehicle. The American Truck Dealers Association esimate it will cost up to $42,000 per truck. Those additional costs will have to come from somewhere and it’s consumers who will feel it in the wallet.

“Truckers care about clean air as much as anyone else, but are also on the front lines of the supply chain with over 70% of America’s freight relying exclusively on trucking,” said Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA). “Mandating equipment that has historically led to major engine reliability issues under an unrealistic timeline will have devastating effects on the reliability of America’s supply chain and ultimately on the cost and availability of consumer goods.”

Democrats blame Republicans for their climate change fears.

“With their fossilized thinking and their smoggy judgment,” Doggett said, “Republicans are permitting our planet to overheat, and with this rule rollback, they would ensure that we keep choking during the overheating… Democrats and Republicans may not see eye-to-eye on much, but we should be able to be clear on smog. It shouldn’t be a partisan issue. Once upon a time – long, long ago – conservation was a conservative value.”

The truth is that the original Clean Air Act was signed into law by Republican President Richard Nixon. It fostered growth of a strong American economy and industry while improving human health and the environment. Conservation is a conservative value. Conservation and the economy can flourish together, they are not mutually exclusive. Doggett is behaving as a partisan hack to mouth progressive talking points.

The four Democrats who voted with Republicans in the House are Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Jared Golden of Maine and Mary Peltola of Alaska. One Republican, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania and co-chair of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus voted no. Shame on him. The problem with “bipartisan” is that it usually means a decision goes to Democrats.

Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on HotAir Video

Duane Patterson 11:21 AM on June 01, 2023