With help from Tanya Snyder and Oriana Pawlyk
— Another Democrat who defied Speaker Nancy Pelosi to advocate for passing the infrastructure law without voting on the party-line spending bill loses a primary challenge from the left.
— Truck engine manufacturers sue California over its rule requiring truck engines to meet increasingly stringent air pollution standards.
— Federal prosecutors begin to hammer bad behavior on planes.
IT’S TUESDAY: You’re reading Morning Transportation, your Washington policy guide to everything that moves. Send tips, pitches, feedback and song lyrics to us at [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]. You can also find us on Twitter: @alextdaugherty, @TSnyderDC and @Oriana0214.
Want to receive this newsletter every weekday? Subscribe to POLITICO Pro. You’ll also receive daily policy news and other intelligence you need to act on the day’s biggest stories.
FRAGILE NINE: Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), officially lost his primary to progressive challenger Jamie McLeod-Skinner on Friday, the latest member of the so-called unbreakable nine who won’t be in office next year. Schrader, who was forced to run in new territory after reapportionment, was attacked for defying leadership by threatening to vote against a now-dead $3.5 trillion budget resolution unless the infrastructure bill received immediate consideration. The infrastructure bill ultimately became law while a party-line spending bill remains in limbo.
ROCKY PRIMARIES: Schrader joins Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-Ga.) as the second member of the unbreakable nine to lose reelection after Bourdeaux lost a member-on-member primary to Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.). A third member, former Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Tex.), resigned in March to become a lobbyist. And a fourth, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Tex.), has a primary race that’s currently too close to call. A reminder that House Republicans who defied their leadership to support the infrastructure law’s passage are also facing political headwinds.
VACATION TIME: Don’t expect a breakthrough in any potential negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) this week. The House and Senate are out of town for the Memorial Day recess, and Manchin told reporters before leaving Washington last week that “no one is putting a deadline” on talks after some Democratic lawmakers and outside groups said putting together a deal by Memorial Day was crucial for a party-line spending bill.
FRIENDLY REMINDER: The drop-dead deadline for passing something is Sept. 30, when Democrats’ ability to pass something on party lines will expire due to Senate rules. But most feel that something needs to happen early this summer before the campaign season heats up.
DIRTY AIR: Truck engine manufacturers sued California over its rule requiring truck engines to meet increasingly stringent air pollution standards, arguing that the rule doesn’t give companies enough time to comply under the Clean Air Act, Debra Kahn reports.
TIMING FIGHT: The suit argues that because the rules weren’t finalized until December 2021, they violate the Clean Air Act’s requirement for a four-year lead time between passing rules and implementing them. California passed its rule in 2020, but didn’t finalize it until the end of 2021. It still needs a waiver from the EPA under the Clean Air Act, which allows California to pass stricter-than-federal air pollution rules for vehicles. Two other states have adopted California’s rule: Massachusetts and Oregon.
HAMMER TIME: Oriana notes that some of the highest-profile incidents of bad behavior on airplanes are finally starting to lead to prosecutions and convictions. On Friday, a California woman who repeatedly punched a Southwest Airlines flight attendant in May 2021, bloodying her face and chipping three of her teeth, was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison. And on Thursday, another Southwest passenger who was caught masturbating four times during a flight from Seattle to Phoenix was sentenced to 48 days in prison and a year of probation.
INCIDENTS DOWN: The FAA’s latest data for 2022 lists 1,419 reports of unruly passengers as of May 24, a pace that is significantly down from 2021’s 5,981 reports of unruly passengers. Flight attendants and airline executives are hopeful that the end of the federal mask mandate for air travel will further decrease the number of confrontations. Last year, there were 4,290 reports of mask-related incidents, according to the FAA.
GASSING UP: Record gas prices (which topped another all-time high on Monday at $4.61 a gallon) didn’t stop travelers from returning to near pre-pandemic level habits on Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA. A total of 39.2 million travelers were expected this weekend, up from 36.2 million in 2021 and inching closer to the 42.8 million travelers on Memorial Day weekend in 2019. And air travel is rebounding even faster than automobiles, up 25 percent over 2021— air passengers will make up 7.7 percent of all holiday weekend travelers, the highest share for air travel since 2011.
Tom Bush will be a senior adviser to Cambridge Global Advisors. He most recently was executive assistant administrator for the TSA, and previously worked for CBP. (h/t Daniel Lippman)
— “United president gets $4 million retention bonus.” Crain’s Chicago.
— “Inside the race to master supersonic air travel.” Washington Post.
— “Car insurance bills are rising, with more increases to come.” Wall Street Journal.
— “Rental car prices soar as dealers soak up inventory.” Bloomberg.
— “Why Germany is offering a summer of cheap trains.” Bloomberg.
— “City of Chicago settles e-scooter rider’s personal injury lawsuit for $600K.” LegalRideshare.
— “Nepal search and rescue teams locate remains of 16 passengers of downed Tara Air flight.” CNN.