We've received questions from members regarding the amendment introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Tim Kaine (D-VA) on August 3rd
. The amendment in question sought to revise the existing Federal Authority Over Interstate Code (49 USC 14501)
and return the state’s right to regulate all towing operations, not just non-consensual, by striking the words “performed without prior consent or authorization
” from 49 USC 14501 (c)(2)(C). As your national association, we fully understand the negative impact that the regulation of consensual towing would have on the entire industry.
Given all the conflicting information out there, we’ve gone straight to the source. Please see the statement from TRAA’s federal lobbying team, Tremont Strategies Group LLC
Dear TRAA Members,
We understand there has been confusion about the issue among some of the state associations. In short, due to efforts by TRAA, the amendment that would have allowed states to regulate consensual towing was NOT included in the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed the Senate. We do not expect it to be included in the final bill that passes the House and ultimately gets to the President's desk.
As you know, Senators Van Hollen (D-MD) and Tim Kaine (D-V A) offered this amendment on August 3rd while the Senate was debating the bill which, to make matters more confusing, was numbered HR 3684 (the termed used for the Senate Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill even though it technically originated in the House). When the Committee staff saw the proposed Van Hollen/Kaine amendment, and its impact on the towing industry, they reached out for TRAA's feedback. We were able to communicate our concerns to Senate Commerce Committee staff and other key staffers - many of whom are familiar with and supportive of TRAA given the many meetings conducted during our annual Hill Day and in subsequent follow-up. When the Senate passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan on August 10th, the Van Hollen amendment was NOT included, and this was emailed to TRAA's membership on August 13th along with other
legislative victories and efforts TRAA championed in the bill.
The Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan is now under consideration before the House for and will likely move in conjunction with the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. We expect that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan will pass the House and amendments will NOT be accepted.
The House is also in the process of drafting another infrastructure bill, the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. This bill will be focused on so-called "soft" infrastructure such as childcare, health care, and the environment. While this is unlikely to be a vehicle where another
attempt could be made to insert this language into a bill, we have proactively reached out to relevant committee staff and key Members of Congress. Many of whom have over time, and in large part due to the relationships we have built during TRAA's legislative days, have become advocates for towers to make them aware of this effort, and proactively voice our concerns. According to staff on the relevant House committees, this is NOT expected to be something the
House considers as part of the second infrastructure package.
We remain actively vigilant in keeping our ears to the ground about potential advocacy efforts to revive this amendment and are coordinating our efforts with like-minded organizations such as
Again, congratulations go to TRAA for their efforts to defeat this measure, and we hope this clarifies any confusion within the industry.
We look forward to continuing to represent towers on behalf of TRAA in Washington DC. We're happy to answer any questions you or the TRAA membership may have.
David J. Garriepy
Vice President, Government Affairs