More than 100 stakeholders press Senate for action on driverless car bill

More than 100 stakeholders press Senate for action on driverless car bill
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More than 100 companies on Monday pressed the Senate to pass its driverless car legislation before Memorial Day, as the bill remains stalled in the upper chamber.

The group of stakeholders, in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellHillicon Valley: Facebook considers political ad ban | Senators raise concerns over civil rights audit | Amazon reverses on telling workers to delete TikTok Ernst: Renaming Confederate bases is the 'right thing to do' despite 'heck' from GOP Advocacy groups pressure Senate to reconvene and boost election funding MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' A renewed emphasis on research and development funding is needed from the government Data shows seven Senate Democrats have majority non-white staffs MORE (D-N.Y.), urged the lawmakers to expedite the American Vision for Safer Transportation Through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act.

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“While there are a number of compelling reasons to expedite Senate floor consideration of the AV START Act, the most important factor is the potential lives that could be saved,” the letter reads.

Companies that signed the letter include various automobile manufacturers, such as Volkswagen Group of America, Tesla, Toyota, Nissan North America, General Motors and Ford Motor Company. The ride-share applications Lyft and Via are also signatories.

“[W]e believe this legislation will garner overwhelming bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate. With your help, the Senate and House legislative proposals can be reconciled to enable a final bill to be presented to the President for his signature later this year,” the companies write.

The legislation, which would speed up the development and testing of autonomous vehicles, unanimously passed through the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee last year, but has since been stuck in the Senate. The House last year passed a companion bill. 

The letter calls on McConnell and Schumer to work with Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee Chairman John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP senators voice confidence over uphill Senate battle Senate GOP hedges on attending Trump's convention amid coronavirus uptick Finger-pointing, gridlock spark frustration in Senate MORE (R-S.D.), ranking member Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA names DC headquarters after agency's first Black female engineer Mary W. Jackson NASA, SpaceX and the private-public partnership that caused the flight of the Crew Dragon Lobbying world MORE (D-Fla.) and Sen. Gary PetersGary Charles PetersHealth care group launches M ad campaign hitting Trump in battleground states The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump wants schools to reopen, challenged on 'harmless' COVID-19 remark Senate outlook slides for GOP MORE (D-Mich.) to move the legislation for a floor vote. 

Thune in January touted the bill at the Washington Auto Show, but acknowledged lawmakers still had differences to work through. 

“We have a couple of objections that we have to try to and deal with, but over the last year we have worked with 200 stakeholders who are affected by [autonomous vehicles],” Thune said at the time.