Congress Inadvertently Removes 34-Hour Restart Provision

The 2016 fiscal year Appropriations Bill contained a major unintended consequence after being passed by Congress and signed into law in December by President Obama. The language effectively removed the 34-hour restart rules from the Federal Code entirely, rather than simply suspending enforcement of certain 34-hour restart provisions.

The restart-specific language in the 2016 Appropriations Act was only intended to continue the stay of enforcement on two provisions pertaining to the 34-hour restart:

  • The requirement included two 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. periods, and
  • Its use be limited to once per week. Neither of those provisions have been enforced since 2014.

The language stated, no funds shall be used to “implement, administer, or enforce sections 395.3(c) and 395.3(d) of title 49, Code of Federal Regulations, and such section shall have no force or effect on submission of the final report issued by the Secretary…” Industry stakeholders and Congress are working hard to identify a fix, and find a legislative vehicle to move that fix through Congress and to the President’s desk.