Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Thune floats self-driving car bill for unanimous consent

November 29, 2017 Shaun Courtney  & Gail Ballantyne

This analysis was first available to Bloomberg Government subscribers

The Senate’s top transportation lawmaker is gauging support this week among colleagues for his self-driving car bill, to see whether it could pass under unanimous consent, he told Bloomberg Government Nov. 28.

The Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee in October approved Chairman John Thune’s (R-S.D.) bill (S. 1885), co-authored with Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.).

“We’re trying I think this week to start to hotline on it to see what issues we have, but we’d like to get it moving as soon as we can,” Thune said. “If we can get consent, we would like to move it that way.”

The hotline process allows informal communications to identify any lingering concerns that would keep a bill from being brought under unanimous consent. The Senate cloakrooms notify their members of bills that may be considered under unanimous consent, giving senators opportunities to identify any concerns before the bill comes to the floor.

Thune and Peters have consistently said they want their bill passed by the end of the year. That would then set in motion conference discussions with the House, which passed its bill (H.R. 3388) in September.

Aides are working behind the scenes to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills, Peters told reporters Nov. 28.

Absent unanimous consent for the Senate bill, Thune said he would look for another “fast-moving vehicle” to get his measure passed.