Auto safety bill deletes cap on civil penalties

The higher funding would be used to hire more safety engineers and experts, update vehicle crash testing facilities and improve NHTSA's vehicle safety databases. President Barack Obama's fiscal 2011 budget calls for NHTSA to hire 66 new employees. 

NHTSA has come under fire for its handling of the Toyota case and lawmakers have pushed for a larger budget for the agency despite its administrator David Strickland's arguments that the agency had enough money and the current employees can handle the workload. 

In a March hearing before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Strickland defended the work of its 131 employees saying they were up to the task.