Inside The Washington Beltway Update: Budget, CDLs, Fuel Standards

The remaining session days in September of an election year are always interesting. The fall legislative calendar will focus on “must-do” legislation while Members of Congress make final attempts to advance priority legislation.

            Budget Resolution

As September draws to a close, all eyes are focused on a Continuing Resolution (CR) to avoid a government shutdown and maintain current federal government funding levels.

The outstanding roadblock for a CR agreement is whether Senator Manchin’s (D-WV) permitting reform proposal should be attached to a must pass CR.

Progressives oppose the proposal based on perceived environmental impacts while Republicans favor similar permitting reform legislation championed by Senator Shelly Moore Capito, a Republican who also represents West Virginia.

The House currently has three scheduled legislative days remaining before the November midterm elections.

The Senate is also working with limited time, though Senate Majority Leader Schumer (D-NY) announced that the Senate will likely reconvene for two weeks in October to consider the annual National Defense Authorization Act and address a backlog of judicial nominations.

Nonetheless, with competitive elections in the House and Senate just weeks away, Members of Congress continue to push priority legislation before the 117th Congress adjourns.

CDLs

On September 15, Senate Republicans introduced the Trucking Regulations Unduly Constricting Known Service-provides (TRUCKS) Act that would allow small fleets with nine CDL holders or fewer to skip the Entry-Level Driver Training requirement by allowing states to issue a new “Small Business Restricted CDL.”

Lead sponsor Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said the legislation “would protect small businesses from these constricting regulations so they can fill their positions in a timely manner and remain competitive in the industry.”

Fuel Standards

Meanwhile, a new coalition has been formed which seeks a market-based, technology neutral approach to replace the Renewable Fuels Standard with a Cleans Fuels Standard.

The coalition is made up of the American Coalition for Ethanol, BP’s bp pulse, ChargePoint, New York League of Conservation Voters, POET, Rivian and the Renewable Fuels Association which launched the “Drive Clean” initiative on Monday.

The coalition plans to work with Congress next year that would set a schedule for gradually reducing the carbon intensity of transportation fuel sources.

Fuels would compete through an annual average carbon score and fuel sources with a carbon score lower than the baseline would generate credits.

Fuel providers could obtain credits by blending renewable fuels, purchasing them from other sources or enhancing their efficiency using renewable energy.

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