Capraesque
Dec 18, 2019

LEAD STORY

The House Judiciary Committee approved two articles of impeachment against President Trump, one for abuse of power and one for obstruction of Congress.  Two presidents–Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 – have been impeached and Richard Nixon resigned before the matter came to a full House vote.  As the lead story among all news outlets, regardless of industry, The Way takes a closer look at the impeachment process this week. 

 

TWO CENTS FOR ALL YOUR FANCY RULES

The House Rules Committee convened yesterday to set the length and terms of debate on the House floor over two articles of impeachment against President Trump. The Rules Committee determines whether there will be any votes in the full House on amendments to the articles, and how many hours of debate there will be.

 

GREAT PRINCIPLES DON’T GET LOST

The House is expected to vote to debate and vote on impeachment later today.  If the House resolution is approved, then the process will shift to the Senate.  Because impeachment would be a "privileged" House Resolution, the Senate must set aside all other legislative business and take up the impeachment trial.  The articles of impeachment operate like an indictment in a criminal trial.  They set out the allegations and the offers of proof for the trier of fact. The Senate is designated as the chamber that tries the case, with all 100 senators acting as jurors.  House Speaker Pelosi will appoint impeachment managers from among House Democrats to play the role of prosecutors. The White House will determine its defense team.  Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the impeachment proceedings in the Senate.

 

WILL THE SENATOR YEILD?

Before the trial begins, the Republican and Democratic leaders will try to negotiate a resolution that establishes the ground rules for a trial, such as how long each side will get to present their arguments. That resolution would require a simple majority to pass.  Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rejected Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) rules request to permit testimony from witnesses in a Senate trial, including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney; former national security adviser John Bolton; Michael Duffey, an OMB official; and Robert Blair, a senior adviser to Mulvaney, witnesses that Senator Schumer claims failed to participate in the House investigation.

 

STAND RIGHT HERE AND FIGHT

In a Senate trial, 67 votes would be needed to convict and remove the president.  The Senate Majority Leader McConnell suggests that there is "no chance" that would happen, and said that "[his] hope is that there won't be a single Republican who votes for either of these articles of impeachment."  Currently, there are 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, and 2 Independents in the Senate.  Washington pundits explain that it would take 20 GOP senators to break with the president and remove him from office.  We’ll stay tuned to the news coming out Washington.

 

Transportation Update

ELD

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began enforcement of the electronic logging devices final rule yesterday.  The December 17 deadline also pertains to grandfathered automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs), which will no longer be allowed under the FMCSA Regulations to provide records of duty status as a substitute to a required ELD.  The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said that inspectors will begin fully enforcing and there will be no “soft enforcement” grace period.  We will keep an eye on FMCSA enforcement, as some trucking advocates say the new mandate will impact their salaries as well as job safety, turning what was supposed to be a safety measure into an added pressure for truckers to "beat the clock."

 

CLEARINGHOUSE

Heading in the other direction, the FMCSA announced a final rule that will extend until January 6, 2023, a new requirement that state driver's licensing agencies comply with certain Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse requirements.  The Commercial Driver License Clearinghouse rule requires states to request information from the Clearinghouse about individuals prior to issuing, renewing, upgrading, or transferring a CDL.  While FMCSA’s new action delays the mandatory practice for three years, it does not prohibit states from voluntarily querying the Clearinghouse information beginning in the New Year.

 

Making Our Way Around the Country

GREAT BIG IMPORTANT SIMOLEONS

Other federal news, the U.S. House of Representatives negotiated a $1.4 trillion government-wide spending bill that also advanced a number of policy initiatives.  The expansive measure includes funding to pay full health and retirement benefits to about 100,000 retired union coal miners whose benefits would have been at risk,  a seven-year reauthorization of a government backstop for terrorism risk insurance, and an extension through September 30 for the National Flood Insurance Program.  The Senate must pass the bill and the president must sign it into law by Friday to avoid a government shutdown.

 

A LIFE TOUCHES SO MANY OTHER LIVES

Throughout the year (and even this week) we have covered a number of breaking stories in the transportation industry.  As we close out 2019, we reflect on the good and heroic work of our nation’s truck drivers—like Truckers Against Trafficking, who unveiled its Everyday Heroes Kenworth T680, on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. earlier this year.  Or, the Convoy of Care who mobilized efforts to transport life-saving supplies to communities affected by Hurricane Dorian.  And, the pioneering force of the Women in Trucking  and Women in Safety movements.  Thank you for everything you do to keep us moving in positive directions.

 

ANGELS GET THEIR WINGS

The Way closely follows developments in the areas of workplace safety and issues facing injured workers.  We cannot close the year without, once again, applauding the tireless work of Kids Chance leaders, who were recognized this year for their efforts across the country to bring the hope of higher education to the children of catastrophically injured workers.   We also cheer the work of researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences designing a leadership course to change organizational culture around opioid use and organizations working to combat workplace stress around the globe.  And, last but surely not least, we ring the bell for everyone who supports the angels among us at Give Kids the World.

                                                      

IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

None of us is a failure who has friends.  We thank you for your readership and friendship!  With the Holidays over the next week, this is our final edition of The Way for 2019.  Please follow us on twitter at #GBTheWay for breaking news over the break.  We will be back to you on January 8, 2020, for our fifth year of covering the intersection of governmental affairs and the risk and industry.  From all of us at The Way, here’s to all of you for a blessed Holiday season and the happiest New Year.         

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