Drunk driving

DUI Standards Should Be Left to States, Say Republicans

Pushing back against a scheme to lower legal BAC to .05

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Republicans have a message for federal safety regulators who want to dramatically lower the legal alcohol limit for drivers: Washington needs to butt out.

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill said the legal limit on blood-alcohol content should be left to state legislatures, not bureaucrats and politicians in Washington. And while the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendations are nonbinding, Republicans are warning the government against withholding federal funding from — or offering financial incentives to — states to prod them to adopt tougher drunken driving laws.

"I think it's a state issue," declared Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), a member of the Commerce Committee and the GOP leadership team.

Minority Whip John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, concurred: "That would be a state issue — that would be my belief."