By on February 6, 2015

United States Capitol

Though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says funding is needed to boost staffing, some in Congress aren’t so sure on the proposal.

The Detroit News reports the proposal, part of President Barack Obama’s FY 2016 budget plan, would triple the NHTSA’s funding from $10.7 million to $31 million, helping to boost the total staff of the agency’s Office of Defects Investigation to over 100 employees. Chair of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, isn’t sure such an increase is necessary, however:

We think there are ways too that you could reform and accomplish some things (without higher funding). Clearly, we want to work with them, but it’s going to be tough in this budgetary environment with all the constraints that we’re dealing with to get significant increases in funding for any agency.

Thune adds that the NHTSA’s mission “is a awfully important one,” and wants to ensure the agency can do the job expected of it. Meanwhile, Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Bill Nelson of Florida both praised the increase in the agency’s budget, though McCaskill wants to see more done still. Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut adds that Congress should heed the call for a larger staff, and provide the NHTSA with “the most robust possible resources.”

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9 Comments on “Congress Unsure On NHTSA Funding Increase...”

  • avatar

    So when they raise taxes, what happens to the higher taxes when fuel prices increase again?

    All they are doing now is RAISING TAXES. Republicans, Democrats…all they are doing is taxing and spending.

    And the people, as Gruber noted, are stupid enough to let it happen.

  • avatar

    Usually, the refrain is “we just need a little bit more”, year after year, no matter what the current budget level is for any given agency.

    But TRIPLING your budget?! Now that takes some cojones.

    Every agency in existence has a prime, unwritten goal (or maybe two goals): Increase size and power. When was the last time you heard anybody in government say “you know, we’ve accomplished most of what we set out to do, so we could probably stand a little reduction in size”.

    • 0 avatar

      “But TRIPLING your budget?! Now that takes some cojones.”

      Well, if the military and police can do it…

    • 0 avatar

      It’s a shift from 10 million to 31 million. It’s not exactly an outrageous sum since just adding 100 employees at an average of 70K alone would add 7 million to the budget and yes, hiring engineers isn’t cheap. But you’ve never worked in regulatory work so it isn’t like production or sales. There is a feasible limit in your actions (i.e. if I have X dollars I can reach Y people and cases) so after a number of fairly large recalls in the last few years the NHTSA sounds like they’re falling well short of their mission and letting the auto industry get away with literal murder.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I think the real question is this: Just how far-reaching do we expect the NHTSA’s role to be? If it’s to perform design reviews on pending ignition switch changes, triple won’t be enough.

  • avatar

    “Senator Richard(stolen valor Dick)Blumenthal (D) Connecticut.

    Yup, I’m gonna trust a politician whose resume was written by Brian Williams.
    There is no function of NHTSA that is not duplicated by other government agencies,fed or state.
    Shut it down. Shut it ALL down.
    Get the government out of my automobile and my wallet.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Maybe the US should move to the ENCAP model and harmonise it’s vehicle regulations with the rest of the world.

    This saves money as the “love” is shared financially.

    It seems the US is attempting to re-invent the wheel. It’s already been invented in this case.

    Different to just be different costs.

    • 0 avatar

      This is something I actually agree with. We should be moving towards European safety standards on most issues simply so we can stop duplicating costs on things that work well. But the NHTSA is also responsible for recalls that have not been handled well because they’re so understaffed and the OEMs know this and exploit this fact.

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