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S. 469: Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act


Sadly, the bill does nothing to remedy the dearth of female trucks in the Cars movie franchise.

Context

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act was enacted into law in November, containing major investments in transportation systems, energy and water systems, and expanding broadband internet access. It costs about $1.2 trillion, though less than half of that — $550 million — actually constitutes new spending above what Congress had already appropriated.

The 1,039-page law incorporated provisions from dozens of other previously-introduced bills. GovTrack Insider is spotlighting two of them which each have an unusual distinction: both the lead House and Senate sponsors are Republicans, yet they both ultimately voted against the infrastructure package as a whole, despite their bill being included as part of it.

(Another such bill, the Telecommunications Skilled Workforce Act, was recently the subject of another GovTrack Insider article.)

What the legislation does

In 2020, women comprised just 7.8 percent of professional truck drivers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the national shortage of truck drivers is a contributing factor to inflation currently standing at a 31-year high.

The Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act would establish a Women of Trucking Advisory Board, which would submit a report to Congress on their findings and recommendations for how to increase female participation in the industry.

The House version was introduced on February 25 as H.R. 1341, by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI8). The Senate version was introduced the same day as S. 469, by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS).

The House version attracted five bipartisan cosponsors: three Republicans and two Democrats. The Senate version attracted four bipartisan cosponsors: three Democrats and one Republican.

What supporters say

Supporters argue that the legislation could help add not only more women to the trucking industry, but more people to the trucking industry at a time when consumers nationwide need that to meet demand.

“Although women make up nearly half of our country’s workforce, they represent less than 10 percent of truck drivers across the country. At a time when trucking companies are struggling to find and retain workers, it’s critical we find ways to address this problem and remove barriers to entry for women in this field,” Rep. Gallagher said in a press release. “This effort… takes steps to examine ways we can expand opportunities for women and strengthen the trucking industry’s workforce.”

“Over the past year, we have relied on the essential service the trucking industry provides to transport critical resources to Kansas and across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Sen. Moran said in a separate press release. “As the trucking industry continues to face a driver shortage, we must find new ways to recruit and retain drivers, including supporting women pursuing careers in trucking. This sensible and bipartisan legislation will lead to new job opportunities for women and promote equality for those who are currently working in the trucking industry.”

Why they voted against the infrastructure bill

Both lead sponsors also opposed the broader infrastructure package.

“As I outlined months ago, Congress could fix our infrastructure by simply returning to a user-fee system, pursuing innovative funding mechanisms, and aggressively reforming our regulatory process,” Rep. Gallagher said in a press release. “This backward-looking bill fails to make these reforms and therefore will not fix the underlying problems that drive up the cost and delay the completion of infrastructure projects.”

“From the beginning, I outlined the criteria needed for me to support any final outcome of the negotiations. My top priority was the bill must be paid for and, therefore, not raise the national debt. However, the new spending in the final bill adds a quarter of a trillion dollars to the national debt,” Sen. Moran said in a separate press release. “Too much spending, too much debt and too much inflation. My efforts to reach a compromise were honest and sincere, and, unfortunately, we were unable to arrive at a bill I could support.”

Congress passed the infrastructure package with bipartisan, but mostly Democratic, support. The Senate vote was 69–30, with Democrats unanimously supporting 48–0, independents unanimously supporting 2–0, and Republicans largely opposed 19–30. The House vote was 228–206, with Democrats largely supporting 215–6 and Republicans largely opposed 13–200.

Last updated Dec 21, 2021. View all GovTrack summaries.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Feb 25, 2021.


Promoting Women in Trucking Workforce Act

This bill directs the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to establish and facilitate a Women of Trucking Advisory Board to review and report on policies and programs that (1) provide education, training, mentorship, or outreach to women in the trucking industry; and (2) recruit, retain, or advance women into the trucking industry.