Week ahead in tech: Lawmakers turn focus to self-driving cars

Week ahead in tech: Lawmakers turn focus to self-driving cars
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Lawmakers are turning their attention to self-driving cars.

At 10 a.m. on Tuesday, the House Commerce Subcommittee on consumer protection will hold a hearing on a slew of bills -- 13 in total -- to help scale back regulations and make it easier for autonomous vehicles to hit the road.

Among the bills is a measure that would prohibit regulators from requiring pre-market approval for self-deriving cars. Another measure would give up to 100,000 cars a year exemptions from regulations that the industry says are geared toward traditional vehicles.

Lawmakers will also look at legislation on how cars should share data and to establish a cybersecurity advisory panel as concerns grow over the self-driving vehicles' and the threat of hacks.


The industry has been receiving more attention from Congress, as lawmakers struggle to keep pace with the rapidly emerging new technology.

Across Capitol Hill in the upper chamber, Sens. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate fails to get deal to speed up fight over impeachment rules Senate to vote on Trump's Canada, Mexico trade deal Thursday Senate braces for Trump impeachment trial MORE (R-S.D.) and Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade Lobbying world Bottom Line MORE (D-Fla.) earlier this month released a framework for what could become the first set of federal laws governing the budding industry.

The chairman and ranking member of the Commerce Committee could release the text of their legislation this summer.

The White House is also taking steps to rework current federal guidelines on self-driving cars.

Outside of driverless cars, it will be a busy week in Congress with the Senate racing toward a vote on their repeal-and-replace legislation for ObamaCare before lawmakers exit for the week-long 4th of July recess.

The possible healthcare vote will dominate the week, but other tech issues will also be in the spotlight.

Former Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler is jumping back into the net neutrality fight as his signature rules are on the chopping block under the agency's new Republican leadership.


The former Dem chairman on Monday night will join Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) and former FCC General Counsel Jonathan Sallet for a net neutrality town hall in Arlington, Va.

The event comes as FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a Republican, is moving ahead to repeal the legal framework for the 2015 rules, which prohibit internet service providers from blocking, throttling or favoring certain web content.

Pai's proposal is currently in a public comment period at the FCC, where the docket has already received a record 5 million public filings.

The previous record was under Wheeler's chairmanship, when the agency was received nearly 4 million comments as it was first deliberating the rules in 2014.

This time around, a coalition of tech companies and public interest groups will try to activate grassroots support to flood the FCC with even more comments during an online "day of action" in July.

Despite their efforts though, there are no signs Pai will abandon his push to roll back the rules.

Outside of D.C., Uber's search for a new CEO will be heating up after the resignation of founder Travis Kalanick on Wednesday.

His exit followed months of mounting controversies for the ride-hailing giant.

The ride-sharing company has been under scrutiny over allegations of workplace sexual harassment, an executive's handling of a rape victim's medical records, a lawsuit from Waymo over its driverless car project and its efforts to evade regulators in some cities.

Among those reportedly in the running to succeed Kalanick are former Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer; Anthony FoxxAnthony Renard FoxxBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Lyft sues New York over new driver minimum pay law Lyft confidentially files for IPO MORE, the secretary of Transportation under the Obama administration; and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Back on Capitol Hill, the Senate Judiciary Committee will be holding a hearing on Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. on reauthorizing FISA, the foreign surveillance law that has been under fire from some Democrats and privacy advocates.

On Wednesday, the House Science subcommittees on energy and research and technology will hold a hearing on material science at 10 a.m.

And the House Science space subcommittee will examine in-space propulsion on Thursday at 10 a.m.

Also on Thursday, across the Capitol, the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies will hear from NASA acting Administrator Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. on his agency's fiscal 2018 budget proposal.



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