Sen. Schumer's phone call to the White House

Sen. Charles Schumer dropped a line to the White House this week to discuss the administration’s long-delayed proposal to require rearview cameras in cars.

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White House meeting records reveal the rare formal discussion between a high-profile member of Congress and the Office of Management Budget (OMB) over an individual rule in the federal pipeline. 

The New York Democrat, a longtime advocate of the Transportation Department proposal, spoke Monday with White House budget chief Sylvia Matthews Burwell and the OMB’s Kristen Sarri, according to the records.

Schumer spokesman Matt House confirmed the discussion Friday, saying the senator urged action on the rule, which has sat under review at the White House since December.

“Sen. Schumer called OMB Director Burwell to reiterate the importance of issuing the rule requiring back-up cameras in cars as soon as possible,” House said. “Every day we wait, we put additional lives as risk.”

The agency’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) submitted the regulations to the White House on Christmas Day, after years of delay.

Under the proposal, automakers would be required to install rearview cameras or similar technology in all cars, in accordance with the Cameron Gulbransen Kids Transportation Safety Act of 2007.

“The Act requires that NHTSA expand the required field of view to enable the driver of a motor vehicle to detect areas behind the motor vehicle to reduce death and injury resulting from backing incidents, particularly incidents involving small children and disabled persons,” the administration said in a notice posted Dec. 25.

The 2007 statute gave the Transportation Department until 2011 to enact the regulations. But the agency pulled back last year, claiming it needed until 2015 to conduct further analysis.

Safety advocates in 2013 filed a lawsuit challenging the delay. They say as many as two children are killed per week by vehicles backing over them.

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