Markey, Blumenthal, Nelson Lead Senators in Call to Protect Safety, Consumer Protection, Fuel Economy Provisions in Surface Transportation Bill

Provisions considered in House negotiations would undermine safety, transparency, accountability
Washington (November 13, 2015) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fl.) led a letter along with ten other Senators calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Harry Reid to oppose inclusion of provisions in the Senate’s long-term surface transportation bill that erode safety, short-change consumer privacy, undermine environmental and energy security measures, or erect roadblocks to holding industry accountable. Many provisions were considered or included by the House of Representatives during its action on the surface transportation bill, and the Senators express concern that these issues could reemerge for consideration as both bodies continue to move forward toward a final agreement.
“Making the necessary investments in our nation’s infrastructure – a goal we strongly support – should not come at the expense of weaker safety and consumer protections,” write the Senators in the letter to Senate leadership. “Together, we must resist efforts to use this important legislation as a vehicle for controversial provisions that undermine public health and safety.”
A copy of the letter can be found HERE.
Problematic provisions in the House legislation that the Senators highlight include:
·      Lower funding levels for critical safety and infrastructure programs
·      Provisions that hamper truck safety, including allowing teenage truck drivers on our highways
·      Provisions that erode fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for automobiles
·      Provisions that waive environmental and safety requirements for small-volume automobile manufacturers
·      Provisions that insulate companies from liability or limit discoverability and withhold information from victims of accidents
·      Provisions that provide blanket immunity from prosecution by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for committing unfair or deceptive acts
·      Provisions that exempt automakers from civil penalties and FTC enforcement actions if they comply with their own secret cybersecurity plans
Other Senators signing the letter include Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).