US Congress debates federal independent contractor model for Transportation Network Companies (Uber and Lyft)

After Uber and Lyft executives failed to appear at a hearing on Capitol Hill at which they were to be chastised for lax safety oversight, lawmakers turned their attention to the merits of making it more difficult for employers to hire independent contractors.

The hearing, held by the Highways and Transit subcommittee of the House Transportation & Infrastructure (T&I) Committee on October 16, focused in part on the need for driver background checks for so-called “transportation network companies,” or TNCs, in the wake of homicides and assaults committed by drivers or those posing as drivers.

However, with Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and Lyft CEO Logan Green declining to attend, the committee was given “little choice but to make these policy decisions without [their] input,” House T&I Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) wrote in a letter to the executives days before the hearing.