The MVSA has passed its final committee-level hurdle, passing the Senate Commerce Committee by unanimous vote [full Senate version in PDF here, summary here]. The Act now faces votes by the full House and Senate, with only one major issue differentiating the two: the House version includes a “vehicle safety user fee” on new car sales, while the Senate version does without, thanks. Either way, NHTSA gets its budget doubled to $280m by 2013, so the difference is pretty academic. Other minor quibbles include whether or not to cap NHTSA’s fining power at $200m or $300m per defect. Somehow I think they’ll work it out. Look for the bill to move towards President Obama’s desk at distinctly un-legislative speed. After all, a little pork always helps… and the Senate Commerce Committee also just approved a bill (S.1938) ordering the DOT to grant $94m per year to states with hands-free laws for enforcement of those laws, distracted driver awareness education road signs. Who likes the smell of legislation?
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