Robin Hutcheson, the next person in line to become the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, has had her confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate. Here are the events that transpired.
There were a multitude of topics discussed during the confirmation hearing, but perhaps none as important as the purported “driver shortage” and the plan to allow drivers aged 18-20 to cross state lines.
The younger driver pilot program, as it is called, was included in the recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure law, requires participating carriers to register with the Department of Labor as a Registered Apprenticeship program. This step was not included in the law, but added as a part of the young driver pilot program by the DOT. When Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi asked where the change came from, Hutcheson replied by saying, “We will continue to implement this program in order to maximize its potential effect on bringing drivers into the industry.”
Senator Todd Young of Indiana asked Hutcheson as to whether she considered a short drive across state borders to be more dangerous than traveling hundreds of miles within the same state, to which she said that she would rather study the topic further than simply speculate the answer.
Another topic of contention was that of hair testing. Senator Jerry Moran of Kansas asked Hutcheson, who has been Acting Administrator before her official confirmation, asked why it is taking so long to make hair testing an acceptable method of drug testing. Hutcheson replied, “We are working with Health and Human Services. They are completing a study of the hair testing, and when that is complete, we stand ready to implement their recommendations.”
Generally speaking, the rejection of a nomination within the Senate is exceedingly rare, especially for less contentious positions within the federal government, such as comparing the Administrator of the FMCSA to becoming a Supreme Court Judge.
With Hutcheson’s position all but confirmed, the big question is how long she will be in that position. The FMCSA Administrator role has had numerous people filling its seat over the past few years. We wait with baited breath to see if Robin Hutcheson can break the cycle.
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