Rep. Dusty Johnson and more than 80 bipartisan House members are sending a letter to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg Thursday demanding the Department of Transportation (DOT) allow truck drivers under 21 to cross state lines.
"DOT is asleep at the wheel," Johnson, R-S.D., said in a statement. "America is dealing with a supply chain crisis and the Biden Administration isn’t taking tangible steps to fix the problem. This pilot program could add more than 3,000 truck drivers to an industry that desperately needs workers."
Johnson in the letter is referring to a proposed pilot program that the DOT has been kicking the tires on for over a year that would allow commercial drivers between 18 and 20 to cross state lines. Currently, truck drivers must be over 21 to drive interstate routes.
Johnson is leading the letter along with Rep. Josh Harder, D-Calif. It has six other Democrat co-signers and 73 Republicans.
"Amid the growing supply chain crisis, drivers in the trucking industry have stepped up to ensure the timely delivery of goods. Yet even with their efforts, there simply aren’t enough truckers on the road to meet the demand," the letter says. "As our supply chain issues continue to grow, we should be doing everything we can to fix the problem."
Among the notable signers of the letter are Reps. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., Peter Meijer, R-Mich., and Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa.
"Government needs to get out of the way and let our businesses and workers do what they do best," Harder said. "I’m calling on the Biden Administration to cut the ridiculous red tape so our truck drivers can get to work and our economy can get moving again."
Johnson also argued at a Wednesday hearing that getting people involved in trucking younger would not only help the economy but also their economic futures.
"Getting people connected younger presumably would help them make better careers even earlier," Johnson said at a hearing Wednesday.
Last Congress, more than 140 members of Congress backed a bill that would have required the DOT to implement the under-21 trucker pilot program it's considering.