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House Democrats Introduce New Auto Safety Bill

Law increases NHTSA powers, requires maker transparency.

by on Sep.19, 2014

Rep. Henry Waxman and other Democrats introduced a new vehicle safety bill.

Just days after U.S. Senators laid into auto safety regulators during a committee hearing, a group of House Democrats introduced an auto safety reform bill mandating automakers make information about potential safety problems more easily accessible.

Introduced yesterday, the Vehicle Safety Improvement Act requires makers to make public technical service bulletins, ban recalls that apply to only certain parts of the country, and require car companies to keep records about possible defects for 20 years.

The Last Word!

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., the ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., submitted the bill that would also eliminate the $35 million cap on maximum fines, which is likely to rise to the $300 million recommended by the Obama administration. (more…)

President Obama Asks Congress to Move on the Stalled “Cash for Clunkers” Bill

As the economy and automobile companies burn, politicians fiddle different special interest tunes.

by on Jun.02, 2009

Senator Feinstein

What do we want a Cash for Clunkers bill to do -- improve fuel economy or protect U.S. jobs?

President Obama asked Congress yesterday to pass fleet modernization legislation that provides credit to consumers who turn in old cars and purchase cleaner, more fuel-efficient cars during his GM bankruptcy speech. It wasn’t the first such request, as readers will know.

This should be a relatively simple law-making task. Well, nothing is easy about our special interest-dominated legislative process.

Cash for Clunkers is caught between environmentally-oriented legislators, who want to concentrate on fuel efficiency, and domestic auto industry- friendly lawmakers, who see it as a sales boosting tool.

As we have covered in detail, House Democrats from the Committee on Energy and Commerce have already passed legislation authorizing the government to subsidize vehicle buyers who trade in old ones for new, but it is tied up in a much larger, more controversial energy and global warming bill that won’t move forward anytime soon. Democrats are saying that they might attach the Clunker bill to another bill to get it moving, but until the Senate acts, it’s stalled. The Senate is due to consider a Clunkers bill this week, and the greens (as in environment) are fighting the greens (as in dollars from jobs).

The compromise House bill provides billions of dollars in taxpayer-financed incentives to buyers who trade in older vehicles for new ones. Buyers would receive a coupon, worth $3500 or $4500, if the new vehicle is more fuel efficient than the one replaced. The House program could cost taxpayers as much as $4.5 billion during the one year it would run, if all of the one million authorized coupons are cashed in. The money would come from the economic stimulus plan already approved by Congress last winter.    (more…)