U.S. Department of Transportation officials are disputing Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s statement at the Iowa State Fair today that federal administrators plan to require a farmer driving a tractor across a public road to obtain a commercial driver’s license.
“We are absolutely not requiring farmers” to obtain commercial licenses, such as those required of semi-trailer operators, said U.S. DOT spokeswoman Candice Tolliver in Washington, D.C.
She said U.S. DOT Secretary Ray LaHood had put out a statement last week making the DOT’s position clear.
“We have no intention of instituting onerous regulations on the hardworking farmers who feed our country and fuel our economy,” LaHood’s statement said.
Perry, who on Saturday announced he is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, contended in Des Moines today that federal regulations are stifling creation of American jobs.
He then proceeded to cite what he termed an “obscene, crazy” regulation. “If you are a tractor driver, if you drive your tractor across a public road, you’re going to have to have a commercial driver’s license. Now how idiotic is that?”
Perry said he had talked on Sunday night with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa at a GOP dinner in Waterloo. Perry told Grassley he had heard in the previous two days that the federal government was going to put such a regulation in place.
“Your own United States senator, sitting there at the table, said, ‘That’s right.’ And I said, ‘What were they thinking, senator?’ And he said, ‘They weren’t.’ So that is the issue at hand here,” Perry said.
Federal officials today said it’s a non-issue......