Sens. Kelly, Lummis Introduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Boost Trucking Workforce Amid Supply Chain Challenges

Today, U.S. Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced a bill to help address supply chain shortages and increase the number of truck drivers transporting goods in the U.S. Their bill, the Licensing Individual Commercial Exam-takers Now Safely and Efficiently (LICENSE) Act, would streamline burdensome licensing regulations by making permanent several waivers that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) implemented in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic last November.

This bipartisan bill builds on Kelly’s work to alleviate supply chain bottlenecks. In December, Kelly successfully pushed the Biden administration to take steps he outlined to tackle trucking industry workforce shortages in order to alleviate supply chain issues. Kelly’s bipartisan bill would build upon this work by implementing additional steps outlined in the letter, including making these FMCSA COVID-19 emergency waivers permanent. 

The bill is sponsored by Reps. Darin LaHood (R-IL), Troy Balderson (R-OH), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), and Josh Harder (D-CA) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The pandemic continues to impact our supply chains and Arizonans are feeling the strain of higher prices at the supermarket and the gas pump. Our bipartisan bill cuts red tape and boosts our trucking workforce so we can safely and quickly deliver essential supplies and goods across the country. I will continue to ensure the federal government uses every available tool to strengthen our economy and bring down costs for Arizonans,” said Sen. Kelly.

“One of the first steps towards fixing our current supply chain crises is to increase the number of truck drivers delivering goods to stores around the country,” said Sen. Lummis. “As a rural state, Wyoming is particularly reliant on trucking, but streamlining commercial driver’s licensing and getting rid of overly burdensome regulations will benefit everyone, whether you live in Manhattan or Cheyenne. I’m proud to work with my fellow western senator, Mark Kelly, to reform the licensing process for America’s truckers.”

“I’m laser focused on making it affordable to raise a family in the Valley. Right now the cost of everything from groceries to gas is just plain out of control and we have to fix it,” said Rep. Harder. “This bill cuts through the red tape and gets more truck drivers on the road. More drivers means lower shipping costs, and lower shipping costs means families can actually afford what they need at the grocery story. I’m proud to join my Republican and Democratic friends in introducing this bill.”

“Some of the biggest issues I hear about in central and west-central Illinois are worker and trucking shortages,” said Rep. LaHood. “As we face unprecedented supply chain challenges, this legislation will help streamline the process to obtain a commercial driver’s license and reduce unnecessary red tape. The downstream economic effects of the driver shortage are immeasurable and American families continue to face further disruption in the delivery of groceries, medical supplies, and business inventories across the nation. I am proud to join this bipartisan and bicameral group to introduce this commonsense legislation that will give companies the ability to hire qualified, safe drivers and strengthen the economy in Illinois.”

“This legislation eliminates regulatory barriers to filling in-demand truck driver jobs,” said Rep. Balderson. “I’m proud to support making these common sense waivers permanent. Doing so provides much-needed relief for our truckers and will help to ensure products arrive on-time to doorsteps and store shelves across the country.”

“The LICENSE Act is a critical piece of legislation that will help alleviate stressors on the supply chain and remove burdensome regulatory barriers to obtaining commercial driver’s licenses,” said Rep. Cuellar. “As we look to recover from the pandemic, we must adapt and innovate to the needs of our growing economy. These waivers make our roads safer while removing unnecessary red tape. As the representative for the largest land port of entry, I will continue to prioritize the needs of our truckers who are essential to the success of our national economy.”

The bill would allow state and third-party examiners previously authorized to administer the commercial driver’s license (CDL) skills test to also administer the CDL knowledge test without having to complete the training course. This will help get additional drivers on the road faster without compromising safety.

It would also allow licensed drivers who are accompanying commercial learner’s permit (CLP) holders to move from the front seat of a truck cab to its sleeper berth. In many cases, CLP holders have already passed their road tests and are simply waiting to receive the physical copy of their commercial driver’s license, and this change would recognize that.

Finally, the bill would allow states to administer driving skills tests to applicants from other states. This will streamline the credentialing process and allow future truckers to get tested where they live rather than only where they received their training. 

To read a summary of the bill, click HERE.