WASHINGTON, D.C.—I want to briefly summarize the bills and accepted amendments, before the committee today. We have a full schedule with some very significant bills that I firmly believe will save lives and make a big difference in people’s communities. This is a process and moving legislation like this is one of our most important duties as Senators.
We will begin by considering S. 3386, the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act, which will put a stop to the deceptive online sales tactics that cost tens of millions of American consumers over a billion dollars in unwanted charges on their debit and credit cards. Websites will no longer be able to trick consumers into signing up for unwanted services and membership clubs. At its very core, this is about protecting the American people who deserve every possible safeguard against fraudsters motivated by their desire to rip people off.
We also will consider S. 1938, the Distracted Driving Prevention Act, which I appreciate Senator Hutchison joining as a cosponsor. The bill includes a grant program for states that enact laws to prohibit texting and hand-held cell phone use while driving and requires the Transportation Secretary to issue new regulations for commercial drivers and bus drivers to reduce distracted driving. We added a new provision in the substitute amendment that would prohibit automakers from installing entertainment screens in view of the driver.
In 2008, distracted drivers killed nearly 6,000 people and injured 515,000 people. This is very much an emerging public health epidemic and we have to do something about it. I ask for the Committee’s support for this bill that will save lives and prevent needless injuries.
We also will consider S. 3302, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 (MVSA) – which will improve automobile safety standards, protect drivers and bolster the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) resources, authority and expertise. This is a critical public safety bill that will affect the lives of millions of Americans on the road every day. I appreciate the support of all the cosponsors of the bill, and in particular that of Senator Pryor, the chairman of the subcommittee with oversight of NHTSA. I look forward to voting the bill out of Committee and moving the legislation quickly to the Senate floor.
S. 3084, the Export Promotion Act of 2010, is the first serious attempt to reinvigorate American exporters since the creation of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service over two decades ago. In these tough economic times, small businesses need to look wherever they can for new business. In communities in West Virginia and all across the country, there are countless companies offering some of the finest products in the world, but they need assistance to break into foreign markets. I applaud Senators Klobuchar, LeMieux, and Kerry for their efforts to improve export opportunities for small businesses across the country.
S. 2847, the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act would require the FCC to enforce internationally accepted standards of advertisement volumes. Excessively loud television advertisements may seem like a small thing—but they are a big source of irritation for many television viewers. This bill will help put a stop to the annoying practice of featuring television advertisements that are many times louder than television programming. I am thankful that Senator Whitehouse has introduced this bill, and I am happy to be a cosponsor.
S. 1748, Senator Boxer’s Southern Sea Otter Recovery and Research Act will focus resources on projects that will advance our understanding of southern sea otters and make sure they recover from their current “threatened” status under the Endangered Species Act. And S. 817, Senator Cantwell’s Pacific Salmon Stronghold Conservation Act, focuses on protecting the Pacific Salmon’s healthiest aquatic habitats, or “strongholds,” before they become threatened.
I am pleased to support the nomination of Mr. Carl Wieman, to be an Associate Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. We will also consider nominations for promotion in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Corps and nominations for promotion in the U.S. Coast Guard.
So with all that, I now want to turn to Senator Hutchison. Thank you all very much.