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Highway Bill Passes the U.S. Senate

  • Tuesday morning, the U.S. Senate passed a $1.2 trillion dollar highway bill by a vote of 69 to 30. The bill includes increased funding for roads, bridges, safety programs and of interest to motorcyclists, the reestablishment of the Motorcyclists Advisory Council (MAC) at the U.S. Department of Transportation.

    Despite the efforts of bipartisan Senators including, Tammy Baldwin (WI-D), Marsha Blackburn (TN-R), Joni Ernst (IA-R) and Ron Johnson (WI-R) the bill fails to match provisions for motorcyclists that the House of Representatives included in its version of highway bill. Nearly 500 amendments were offered to the Senate highway bill. In that group of amendments two focused on motorcyclists, one that expanded protections on the profiling of motorcyclists at check points, and one that included motorcyclists in studies of connected and autonomous vehicles. Frustratingly, these two amendments were not given a vote, as the Senate limited debate on amendments. Allowing only about 20 amendments of the 500 or so offered to be debated and voted on.

    The Senate version of the highway bill now goes to the House of Representatives where Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has pledged to not bring the Senate highway bill up for a vote until the Senate passes a separate “reconciliation bill.” This bill includes $3.5 trillion in spending on sweeping programs to address climate change, health, education, and paid leave.

    At this point, there are three possible outcomes to the highway bill. First, the House passes the Senate bill with no changes and the MAC is reestablished. Second, a conference committee is created where the Senate and the House merge their two bills into a new final bill. This opens the door not only for reestablishment of the MAC, but also inclusion of the check point profiling language and autonomous vehicle language from the House bill to be included in a final bill. Finally, with the September 30th deadline fast approaching, Congress could kick the can once again, extending the current highway bill for weeks, months or years…

    Regardless of the potential stalemate in Washington D.C., the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is committed to sustaining the fight for motorcyclist rights. We will not rest until our voices are heard and our priorities are included in laws that protect our rights and safety. We will continue to keep riders informed of the bill’s status and advise you if any calls to action are needed.

    All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction permitted with attribution. Motorcycle Riders Foundation. All rights reserved. 

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