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Public Statements

Limited Service Exclusion

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, as Senator Pryor points out, the clear intent of Congress in adopting the Limited Service Exclusion section of SAFETEA-LU was to ensure cost-conscious, budget-driven consumers will continue to have the option to choose low-cost moving services for their goods. Although I was not a member of Congress when SAFETEA-LU was passed, you can plainly see that Congress made it clear in another section of SAFETEA-LU that it was codifying and preserving decades of law developed and perpetuated at the FMCSA, its predecessor the Interstate Commerce Commission, and the courts that authorize general commodity motor carriers lacking household goods authority to transport household goods as long as they do not perform specialized household goods related services such as loading and unloading. Here is what Congress added to SAFETEA-LU, now codified at 49 U.S.C.  13102(12)(B):

The term [``household goods motor carrier''] includes any person that is considered to be a household goods motor carrier under regulations, determinations, and decisions of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration that are in effect on the date of enactment of the Household Goods Mover Oversight Enforcement and Reform Act of 2005.

The definition of ``household goods motor carrier'' that Congress sought to preserve and perpetuate focuses on the nature of the services performed, not on the commodity itself. If the motor carrier provides specialized household goods related services--packing, loading, unloading, etc.--for the consumer, the carrier must be deemed a ``household goods motor carrier'' with respect to the goods it transports under a long line of court, FMCSA and ICC decisions and implementing regulations. Conversely, if the carrier (or its agent) does not perform those specialized services in conjunction with those household goods, it may transport them without being registered and regulated as a ``household goods carrier.'' This emphasis on the nature of the carrier services performed and not the nature of the commodity itself is also at the very heart of and reflected in the appropriately named ``Limited Service Exclusion.'' The interpretation that the traditional movers advocate would overturn, not preserve, agency precedent and arrive at a definition of ``household goods motor carrier'' that unlawfully contravenes the service-based exclusion codified in 49 U.S.C.  13102(12)(c).

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Mr. RUBIO. Mr. President, as Senator Pryor has articulated, the FMCSA should not suppress competition in the moving industry, and my fear is that this would happen if the agency eliminates an important moving option for do-it-yourself consumers. This would economically hurt the principal users of portable storage companies, namely the middle class, military, students and other price conscious consumers. For these reasons and the others mentioned by my colleague, it is my sincere hope that the FMCSA preserves the rights of consumers, as intended by Congress, to ready and unfettered access to lower cost options with respect to moving their household goods.

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