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Newsletter - Freedom Friday Update from Congress

July 21, 2017
Newsletter

Hello from Gilbert, Arizona –

It’s hot back here, but it’s home. I always enjoy being in the district with my constituents and am looking forward to an extended time in Arizona in August (provided that the Congressional recess isn’t postponed or canceled).

FREEDOM FRIDAY – California’s anti-trucking regulations need to hit the road

For this Freedom Friday, I’m highlighting burdensome and unconstitutional California regulations on our trucking industry.

Defending F4A Preemption in the Trucking Industry

Over twenty years ago, as Congress was considering legislation to scale back the patchwork of burdensome state regulations in the domestic airline industry, many Representatives agreed that the domestic trucking industry was due for regulatory relief as well.  As a result, a provision was included in the 1994 Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act (“F4A”) creating uniform federal standards for the trucking industry, similar to those in the airline industry. This change alleviated much of the burden on motor carriers to comply with the disparate standards in every state. Based on Congress’  authority under Article I Section 8 of the Constitution to regulate interstate commerce, the F4A  provision prohibits states from enforcing any law “related to” a motor carrier’s “price, route, or service…with respect to the transportation of property.”  In short, federal law overrules the authority of state motor carrier laws—or, to use the legal terminology, it “preempts” it.

Problem:  

Not surprisingly, the preemption provision was challenged in 2014 in California, where state law requires far more stringent meal and rest break standards—commonly referred to as “hours-of-service” regulations—than those established pursuant to F4A  .The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over California and eight other states, including Arizona, made a ludicrously narrow determination in  Dilts v. Penske Logistics that because California’s meal and rest rules do not pertain directly to the “price, route, or service” clause of federal law, they are not preempted.  Unfortunately, although the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled in similar cases that the “related to” language in F4A has “broad pre-emptive purpose,” it declined to hear an appeal of the Dilts case, leaving the Ninth Circuit’s ruling to stand.  Truckers from Arizona and elsewhere will continue to be forced to conform their operations to California’s overly-stringent trucking regulations every time they cross the state line.

Solution:

While I am a strong proponent of states’ rights, there are a handful of issues over which Congress has clear constitutional authority.  In the coming weeks, I will be supporting legislation offered by Representative Jeff Denham (R-CA) that further clarifies the right of the federal government to set uniform standards for truckers across the country.  We simply cannot allow our vital interstate commerce to fall victim to an incoherent patchwork of burdensome regulations: our economic and national security depend on resisting this ominous trend.

What People Are Saying:

“California’s regulatory overreach is hurting the Arizona trucking industry and the customers who depend on our services.  We must have uniform national standards, and I commend Congressman Biggs and his colleagues in the House of Representatives for highlighting this issue and hope that their efforts at reform will be successful.” – Dave Berry, Vice President, Swift Transportation Corporation

Check back here each week for updates and follow along in the “Freedom Fridays” section of my newsletter. If you do not already receive my newsletter, you can sign up here.

#CANCELAUGUSTRECESS

I am working diligently to urge that the House cancel the August congressional recess to inspire us to remain focused on achieving our agenda. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enact these transformative policies, so Congress should respond in a once-in-a-generation manner. Read my op-ed in Fox News on these efforts.

REPEAL OBAMACARE

I wrote an op-ed for The Hill on the progress of Obamacare repeal. I have been told repeatedly that we must “repeal” ObamaCare. I agree. The rub is that we each define “repeal” very differently. I typically call modification of something “modification,” or “amending,” or perhaps my favorite here, “remodeling.”

FOREIGN POLICY CONVERSATIONS

With a new administration and fresh policy objectives comes a much-needed conversation about America's place and role in the future of the world. Read my op-ed in the Washington Examiner for my thoughts on the path forward with our foreign policy agenda.

MORNING DISCUSSIONS

This week, I sat down with my next-door office neighbor, Congressman Dave Brat, to discuss the issues of the day. Click this link to watch our discussion.

VIRTUAL CAPITOL TOUR

Have you ever been on a U.S. Capitol tour? If not, you’re in luck. This week, my staff and I recorded a Capitol tour on Facebook Live to bring the sights of the Capitol to Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District. Watch here.

HELPING VETERANS

This week, our staff was at the Southeast VA Health Care Clinic, listening to our veterans and offering assistance. It is our honor to serve the veterans in Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District.

My District Office was also proud to recently host an important roundtable discussion with a number of Arizona’s congressional staff members who serve our Nation’s military heroes. In this meeting, we discussed the systemic challenges our military veterans face in receiving the care they so richly deserve.

Our delegation is committed to ensuring that Arizona’s veterans are cared for and we will not stop fighting until the job is done.

FOR THE GOOD OF THE ORDER

To keep track of what my office is doing for Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, make sure to sign up for our newsletter and follow me on social media:

Our office is currently looking for interns in both my Washington, D.C. and Arizona offices. Click here if you are interested in applying for an internship with my office.

If you cannot get an answer from a federal agency in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, my district office may be able to help resolve a problem or get you the information you need. Visit my website to access the privacy consent form and call my district office to set up an appointment with one of my knowledgeable District Representatives.

As always, I am extremely humbled by the trust that you have bestowed upon me and honored to serve as your Congressman.

Sincerely,

Andy Biggs
Member of Congress