The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, October 4 at 10:00 a.m. in Hart 216 to consider the following legislative measures and nominations.
Click here for additional information on nominees.
1. S. 1885, American Vision for Safer Transportation through Advancement of Revolutionary Technologies (AV START) Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.)
2. S 1872, TSA Modernization Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
3. S. 1015, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act of 2017 Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Tom Udall (D-N.M.)
5. Nomination of Ann Marie Buerkle, to be Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and to be a Commissioner of the CPSC for a term of seven years
6. Nomination of Walter G. Copan, of Colorado, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology
7. Nomination of Howard R. Elliott, of Indiana, to be Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Department of Transportation
8. Nomination of Timothy Gallaudet, of California, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
9. Nomination of David J. Redl, of New York, to be Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information
*Agenda subject to change
Results of the hearing can be found here.
Executive Session Details:
Wednesday, October 4, 2017
Full Committee Markup
Senate Hart Building 216
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov.
Chairman John Thune
Before we start today, I want to take a moment to send our thoughts and prayers to all of those impacted by Monday’s tragic events in Las Vegas. It is hard to fathom the pain caused by this senseless crime. Understandably, our Committee colleagues Senators Heller and Cortez Masto are back home in Nevada with their constituents. Our hearts are with them.
Turning to today’s agenda, we will be considering three legislative items and five nominations.
The first item on today’s agenda is a measure that Senator Peters and I have been working on for some time, the AV Start Act, which is also cosponsored by Senators Blunt and Stabenow.
Earlier this year, we released bipartisan principles that would guide our efforts to craft automated vehicle legislation. The bill before us today puts those principles into practice.
The AV START Act prioritizes safety by setting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA (Nit-suh), on an expedited path to long-term safety standards while providing new tools for near-term safety oversight.
The bill also promotes continued innovation, and reduces existing roadblocks, by enhancing NHTSA’s ability to update decades-old technology standards all at once, rather than undertaking potentially dozens of piecemeal rulemakings.
The bill maintains the traditional balance between federal and state regulators, ensuring motor vehicle safety remains the federal government’s responsibility, while states retain their important role overseeing licensing, registration, insurance, and traffic enforcement.
The AV START Act also puts cybersecurity front and center, requiring all manufacturers to minimize cybersecurity risks and keep regulators informed through a mandatory, reviewable cybersecurity plan, and through mandatory submissions to NHTSA for each new automated vehicle.
Finally, the AV START Act directs the creation of best practices and guidelines on responsible consumer education and marketing so that consumers understand the capabilities and limitations of automated vehicle systems and advanced driver assistance systems.
More than 35,000 people are killed in car crashes on our nation’s roads every year, and over 90 percent of crashes can be attributed to human error. Automated vehicles present an opportunity to make incredible gains in automobile safety.
I would like to thank Senator Peters for working so closely with me on the AV START Act and look forward to continuing to work with him, other members of this Committee, and eventually the full Senate to ensure that the federal government does not stand in the way of this potentially lifesaving technology.
The second item on today’s agenda, the bipartisan TSA Modernization Act, which I introduced with Senators Nelson, Blunt and Cantwell, builds upon security reforms enacted last year and responds to current aviation security challenges.
The legislation includes reforms of TSA’s organizational and leadership structure, provisions to advance development and acquisition of new security technologies, improvements for public area security, and pathways to minimize frustrating security delays for travelers.
I am hopeful that this bill, together with the surface security bill the Committee considered earlier this year, can be considered by the full Senate soon, perhaps even as part of a broader DHS reauthorization.
The final legislative item on the agenda, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act, sponsored by Senators Hatch, Baldwin, Donnelly, Heller, Sullivan, and Udall, would require the FCC to study the feasibility of designating a simple, easy-to-remember, three-digit dialing code to be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.
Tragically, suicide is an increasing problem in the United States, and the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act would ensure that the FCC has the input of Veterans’ representatives and Mental Health professionals as it considers how best to ensure those in crisis can easily reach the help they need.
Finally, the committee will consider five well-qualified nominees.
If confirmed, they will fill a number of key vacancies – including the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Administrator of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.With that, I will turn to Senator Nelson for any opening remarks.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before we get started, I just want echo the chairman’s remarks on the tragic shooting in Las Vegas. On behalf of my fellow Floridians, and especially the victims’ families and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted in Sunday’s massacre.
Looking at our markup agenda today, I’d first like to take note of the autonomous vehicles legislation. Having seen it firsthand, autonomous vehicle technology holds incredible promise for consumers and our nation overall. I am glad we were able to come to an agreement on the preemption provision that will preserve the traditional partnership between the federal government and the fifty states that has successfully protected the American driving public for over fifty years.
I am also pleased that the TSA Modernization Act is on the agenda. This legislation, among other things, expands the use of explosive detection canines, expedites deployment of security screening technology, and continues efforts to expand and promote enrollment in the TSA’s PreCheck program.
Lastly, there are five nominations before us today. Because of concerns I have with Ms. Buerkle’s renomination to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for another seven-year term, which would not start until October 2018, I have asked that it be considered separately from her nomination to be chair of the CPSC. I will address those concerns in more detail when we get to that portion of today’s markup.
With that Mr. Chairman, I turn it back to you.