California Truck Group Sues Over Clean Trucks Rule:
The California Trucking Association has filed a lawsuit against the California Air Resources Board's (CARB) Advanced Clean Fleets rule, which mandates large trucking companies to transition to zero-emission vehicles by 2042. Under this rule, no new fossil-fueled medium and heavy-duty trucks can be sold in the state after 2036, and trucks operating at California ports and rail yards must be zero-emission by 2035. Additionally, large trucking companies with $50 million or more in gross annual revenues or those owning 50 or more vehicles are required to switch to electric or hydrogen models by 2042, with a gradual phase-out option for fossil fuel-powered trucks.
Trucking companies had voiced their objections to the rule during the rulemaking process, citing concerns about the availability of zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure, as well as the rapid timeline. While the Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association had agreed not to sue the state in July in exchange for CARB relaxing some short-term requirements to reduce smog, the California Trucking Association has continued to oppose the rule.
The lawsuit argues that the Advanced Clean Fleets regulation lacks proper planning and coordination with other state agencies, highlights the absence of necessary infrastructure, questions the feasibility of the timeline for technology still in development, and claims that the regulation violates multiple federal laws. The rule is set to take effect on January 1, and CARB is holding an implementation workshop on Thursday.
Potential Jordan Speakership Beginning to look Doubtful:
Ohio Republican Jim Jordan's (R-4th/OH) bid for the position of House Speaker is facing growing opposition as he has failed to secure the 217 votes needed for the role. Jordan attempted to delay the voting process to gather more Republican votes but instead lost two more votes on the second ballot. With a total of 22 Republican nay votes, Jordan's chances of becoming Speaker are beginning to look unlikely.
During the second ballot, Jordan managed to flip only two previous opponents, Representatives Doug LaMalfa (R-1st/CA) and Victoria Spartz (R-5th/IN), while losing ground overall. Several other lawmakers who had initially backed Jordan in the first ballot, including Representatives Vern Buchanan (R-16th/FL), Drew Ferguson (R-3rd/GA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-1st/IA), and Pete Stauber (R-8th/MN), switched their votes against him. Some Republican representatives who opposed Jordan on the first ballot also opted for alternative candidates on the second ballot.
Jordan's strategic choice to have Congressman Tom Cole (R-4th/OK), a senior appropriator and Rules Committee Chair, give his nominating speech did not sway enough lawmakers who were concerned about his history of opposing government funding legislation.
As the opposition to Jordan's candidacy grows, it is becoming increasingly unlikely that he will secure the role of Speaker. Some Republican members are indicating a reluctance to engage in an extended floor battle for Jordan, while others are considering alternatives, such as empowering acting Speaker Patrick McHenry (R-10th/NC) to move certain legislation on the floor.
The continued vacancy of the Speaker chair means no legislation, or any other business can be conducted. Congress remains in standstill.
Senate Commerce Moves Forward with FAA Nominee:
The Senate Commerce Committee has advanced the nomination of Michael Whitaker to lead the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), bringing the agency a step closer to having a Senate-confirmed leader for the first time since April 2022. Whitaker, an experienced regulator and airline executive, received the necessary affirmatives through a voice vote in the committee. His nomination will now proceed to the Senate floor for official confirmation, just days before acting FAA Administrator Polly Trottenberg is required by law to step down from her temporary role.
Whitaker's nomination faced little push-back from committee members, with both Republicans and Democrats supporting him. This bipartisan consensus followed the rejection of President Joe Biden's previous nominee, Phil Washington, which had prompted delays in filling the leadership vacancy at the FAA.
If confirmed, Whitaker will take charge of the FAA during a challenging period characterized by increased aircraft near-crashes, flight delays, cancellations, and staffing problems in air traffic control facilities. These issues have arisen as air travel rebounds following the pandemic-related slowdown.
Whitaker previously served as the FAA's deputy administrator from 2013 to 2016 and led the agency's air traffic control modernization initiative, NextGen. He also brings extensive experience from his years in the airline industry, including his role as chief operating officer of Supernal, an air taxi company.
His confirmation is expected to help address workforce issues at the FAA, particularly the ongoing challenges related to air traffic control staffing. However, the Senate remains divided over certain pilot training issues, which have stalled FAA reauthorization legislation. Whitaker's confirmation may be followed by further Senate deliberations on these matters.