The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, at 4:45 p.m. (time changed from 10:00 a.m.). to consider S. 1732.
S. 1732, the Comprehensive Transportation and Consumer Protection Act of 2015, Sponsors: U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.)
*Agenda is subject to change
Click here for results of the executive session.
Executive Session Details:
Wednesday, July 15, 2015
4:45 p.m. in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available on this page
For reporters interested in reserving a seat, please contact the press gallery:
• Periodical Press Gallery – 202-224-0265
• Radio/Television Gallery – 202-224-6421
• Press Photographers Gallery – 202-224-6548
• Daily Press Gallery – 202-224-0241
Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for the webcast hearing, should contact Stephanie Gamache at 202-224-5511 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.
Chairman John Thune
"This afternoon’s mark-up will come to order. I wanted to kick things off as we are awaiting a quorum due to the full agenda we have regarding this Committee’s work on passing its related portions of a multi-year transportation reauthorization bill so it can be debated on the floor as early as next week.
"I know I share my colleagues desire to pass a multi-year transportation bill and reduce the impacts of short-term extensions on states, that while sometime necessary, are no replacement for substantive policy and infrastructure investments and reforms that come from multi-year reauthorization bills.
"From the beginning of this Committee’s work – both last Congress and this year, we have focused on a number of key transportation needs regarding passenger and freight railroads, motor vehicle safety, oversight of various aspects of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and a general desire to make federal transportation planning and investment more targeted to better utilize taxpayer resources and user fees that are so critical to our nation’s transportation system.
"I appreciate the input that colleagues on both sides of the Committee as well as members outside our Committee in crafting the underlying bill, amendments and various other provisions we are prepared to accept today. With that being said, I think it’s fair to say that there’s been a good deal of misinformation about what was or wasn’t included in the underlying proposal before us today.
"Clearly, not every issue that is a priority to members on this Committee can be addressed. For instance, the omission of certain provisions in the underlying measure I introduced last week was not an indication that we didn’t want to consider additional measures but a reflection that additional negotiations would be required – which we have done.
"I would like to underscore that while the overall bill before us today amounts to 506 pages, roughly half of that (or 206 pages) is related to measures that this Committee has supported in a strong bi-partisan manner – such as Senators Wicker and Booker’s work on the important passenger rail safety bill (S. 1626) that we approved at the end of June. While some may wonder why we are again passing this and other related bills that were already cleared by the Committee, I want to reiterate how failing to include such measures on a must-pass bill like the Transportation Reauthorization bill would be a missed opportunity if we want to see important changes made regarding freight and passenger rail safety – including grant funding for Positive Train Control and recommendations from the National Transportation Safety Board regarding inward and outward facing cameras.
"The bill before us today makes a host of important improvements when it comes to motor vehicle safety for instance, Senators Heller and Markey have a provision to spur greater consumer adoption of advanced vehicle safety provisions like blind spot detectors, active braking and lane departure warning signals – which can have a significant impact on the number of automobile and pedestrian accidents. The “Chairman’s Modified Substitute” amendment that we will consider today also includes increases to NHTSA for its safety oversight role and increased penalty caps for automobile manufacturers who fail to abide by existing automobile safety requirements – as we’ve witnessed with the Committee’s work and investigation into the GM ignition interlock recalls and the more recent and wide ranging Takata airbag recalls. That being said, these NHTSA increases and penalty caps are tied directly to the DOT Inspector General certifying that NHTSA has addressed the troubling concerns raised in the Inspector General’s report last month.
"As we turn to consideration of the underlying bill and related amendments, I would like to turn to Senator Cantwell who is serving as Ranking Member due to Senator Nelson recovering from surgery earlier this week. We certainly wish him a speedy recovery and if it wasn’t for the fact that the Senate will be turning to a multi-year reauthorization bill on the floor in the coming days, we would certainly have postponed the mark-up to allow his direct involvement but that wasn’t an option within our control."