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 McConnellThe Memo: Trump's justices look set to restrict abortion Conservatives could force shutdown over Biden vaccine mandate Freedom Caucus urges McConnell to block government funding over vaccine mandates MORE (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerDemocrats wrangle to keep climate priorities in spending bill  Coons says White House could impose border fee for carbon-intensive products The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The omicron threat and Biden's plan to beat it 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 ThuneHouse passes bipartisan bills to strengthen network security, cyber literacy Senate nearing deal on defense bill after setback Congress's goal in December: Avoid shutdown and default MORE (R-S.D.), ranking member Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA spacewalk delayed due to debris threat This Thanksgiving, skip the political food fights and talk UFOs instead Two trajectories to Mars by the 2030s MORE (D-Fla.) and Sen. Gary PetersGary PetersFive ways Senate could change Biden's spending plan Overnight Defense & National Security — Presented by Boeing — US mulls Afghan evacuees' future Senators look to defense bill to move cybersecurity measures 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.