Congresswoman Schakowsky Votes for Infrastructure Package, Including Auto Safety Measures She Co-Authored

July 1, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky, a Senior Chief Deputy Whip and Chair of the Energy and Commerce Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, voted for H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, a comprehensive forward-thinking package which invests $1.5 trillion to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure while creating millions of good-paying jobs, tackling our global climate crisis and addressing disparities throughout the country. H.R. 2, which passed by a vote of 233-188, includes an auto safety title with several provisions introduced by Congresswoman Schakowsky.

Schakowsky issued the following statement after the vote:

“Today, as a part of its fulfillment of its promises to the American people, the House passed HR 2, the Moving Forward Act. I was proud to cosponsor, and ultimately vote for the Moving Forward Act.

“The Moving Forward Act invests in our nation’s roads, bridges, transit, rail, schools, housing, broadband, drinking and wastewater systems, postal service, clean energy sector, health care infrastructure and much more.

“The Moving Forward Act marks a transformational investment in American infrastructure that will create millions of jobs, take bold action on the climate crisis, and address disparities in urban, suburban, and rural communities across our country.

“2020 is on track to be the hottest year ever recorded, which is why it’s crucial that H.R. 2 also invests in clean energy and transportation. It also protects access to safe drinking water.

“It will also support environmental justice communities, who too often bear the brunt of crumbling infrastructure and exposure to harmful, dangerous toxins.

“H.R. 2 will help reduce homelessness and housing inequality by investing over $100 billion into our nation’s affordable housing infrastructure. This will not only increase our nation’s supply of affordable housing but will also create jobs that stimulate the broader economy.

“Our failure to adequately contain the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States has unfortunately exposed our fragile health infrastructure. While Americans spend more per capita on health care than any other country, less than three percent of U.S. health care spending goes to public health. H.R. 2 invests more than $4 billion over five years to improve the capabilities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health departments across our nation so that we are better prepared to meet the next public health emergency and save lives. The bill also makes historic investments in our medical infrastructure – specifically to hospitals, the Indian Health Service, laboratories, and community-based programs.

“As Chair of the Consumer Protection Subcommittee, I was able to get a robust auto safety package included in this legislation. This package includes bills I introduced and co-authored; the PARK IT Act, which addresses the dangers created by keyless ignition systems such as carbon monoxide poisoning and rollaway cars, and the Hot Cars Act, which would have saved the 53 children lost last year to preventable heat strokes. This transformational Motor Vehicle Safety title will put people’s safety first and save lives. This legislation will help prevent tens of thousands deaths, millions of injuries, and hundreds of billions of dollars in costs to society each year. Our nation is suffering from an automobile safety crisis that requires swift and decisive federal action.

“With the Moving America Forward Act, we attacked this crisis head on – enacting sweeping auto safety reforms that mandate proven safety technologies that will decrease the death and destruction on our nation’s streets. I applaud Chairman Peter DeFazio for shepherding this legislation through the House and thank my colleagues for supporting vehicle safety.”

Among the many far-reaching provisions of the Moving Forward Act:

  • The INVEST in America Act, a nearly $500 billion investment to rebuild and reimagine the nation’s transportation infrastructure by fixing our crumbling roads and bridges, improving safety, reducing gridlock and putting the U.S. on a path toward zero emissions from the transportation sector by cutting carbon pollution, investing in public transit and the national rail network, building out fueling infrastructure for low- and zero-emission vehicles and deploying technology and innovative materials.  The INVEST in America Act is fueled by American workers and ingenuity thanks to strong Buy America provisions and labor protections. Under H.R. 2, Illinois would receive $14.9 billion in highway and transit funding alone.
  • Invests in schools with the Reopen and Rebuild America’s Schools Act, which funds $130 billion in school infrastructure targeted at high-poverty schools with facilities that endanger the health and safety of students and educators. This investment will help students get back to school and create more than 2 million jobs to help workers get back to work.  
  • Addresses structural challenges and upgrades child care facilities by leveraging a 5-year, $10 billion federal investment to generate additional state and private investments in making sure that child care settings are safe, appropriate and able to comply with current and future public health directives.
  • Invests over $100 billion into our nation's affordable housing infrastructure to create or preserve 1.8 million affordable homes. These investments will help reduce housing inequality, create jobs and stimulate the broader economy, increase community and household resiliency in the face of natural disasters, improve hazardous living conditions and increase the environmental sustainability of our housing stock.
  • Protects access to safe drinking water by investing over $25 billion in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and other programs to ensure all communities have clean drinking water and to help remove dangerous contaminants like PFAS from local water systems. 
  • Modernizes our energy infrastructure for a clean energy future by investing more than $70 billion to transform our electric grid to accommodate more renewable energy, expand renewable energy, strengthen existing infrastructure, help develop an electric vehicle charging network and support energy efficiency, weatherization and Smart Communities infrastructure.
  • Delivers affordable high-speed broadband Internet access to all parts of the country by investing $100 billion to promote competition for broadband internet infrastructure in unserved and underserved communities, prioritizing those with persistent poverty.  Gets children connected to remote learning, closes broadband adoption and digital skills gaps and enhances payment support for low-income households and the recently unemployed. 
  • Modernizes the nation’s health care infrastructure by investing $30 billion to upgrade hospitals to increase capacity and strengthen care, help community health centers respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies, improve clinical laboratory infrastructure, support the Indian Health Service‘s infrastructure and increase capacity for community-based care.   
  • Modernizes and strengthens the United States Postal Service by investing $25 billion to modernize postal infrastructure and operations, including a zero emissions postal vehicle fleet, processing equipment and other goods.
  • Promotes new renewable energy infrastructure by incentivizing the development of wind and solar on public lands and building a workforce for offshore wind.
  • Promotes investments in our communities by spurring private investment through the tax code, through a revitalized Build America Bonds program, expansions of Private Activity Bonds and significant enhancements to the New Markets Tax Credit and the Rehabilitation Tax Credit.  

A fact sheet on the Moving Forward Act is available here.

On the Motor Vehicle Safety title, several organizations shared their support.

“Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is our hero!  She has advanced a critical piece of safety legislation that makes overdue updates to an essential car-buying consumer tool - the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP); requires proven crash avoidance technology in cars, trucks and buses – a revolutionary change to improve safety for all road users; ensures detection and alert technology to overcome the devastating incidents of children dying in hot cars;  accelerates adoption of advanced drunk driver prevention technology as standard in cars; improves limousine safety; and, fixes deadly unintended consequences resultant from keyless ignition switches.  Her championing of these issues is yet another example of her dedication to consumer information and safety, and it will save thousands of lives, prevent needless injuries, and avoid devastating heartbreak and suffering for years to come.  We are deeply indebted to her leadership and initiative,” said Joan Claybrook, Former Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“On behalf of tens of thousands of drunk driving victims, MADD thanks Chairman Frank Pallone, Chair Jan Schakowsky, and Rep. Debbie Dingell for their leadership to include legislation which would eliminate drunk driving as part of the Moving America Forward Act,” said MADD National President Helen Witty.  “In the near future, cars will be able to detect if the driver is drunk and take appropriate action to save lives.  This bill will put this technology in all cars very soon.   In addition to drunk driving, the bill contains many important safety provisions which will have a profound impact on the future of traffic safety in America.  Safety must not be optional.” 

"Technology holds incredible promise to solve persistent safety issues that have plagued our roads for decades. We must embrace these advancements, understanding that they will help us get on the road to zero deaths. This bill is a significant step forward, and we applaud the work of Chairs Pallone and Schakowsky,” said Lorraine Martin, President and CEO of the National Safety Council.

“Making available safety technology standard equipment in all vehicles has been the work of the Center for Auto Safety for 50 years. The Motor Vehicle Safety Title in H.R. 2, the Moving Forward Act, which passed the House, can be a giant leap on the road to making advanced vehicle safety standard for all Americans. The long overdue vehicle safety advancements in this package, almost all of which make safety standard instead of a luxury add-on, are a direct result of the hard work of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce and the leadership of Chairwoman Schakowsky, and we are excited to see them now move to the Senate,” said Jason Levine, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety. 

“This is a transformative and necessary bill that takes vital steps forward for road safety. The bill would prevent crashes and save lives on our roads and the Senate should pass it right away,” said William Wallace, manager of safety policy for Consumer Reports. “The bill recognizes that auto safety innovations should benefit everyone—not just those who can afford expensive add-on packages. We commend the House for voting to put safety first, and thank Chair Schakowsky for her leadership.”

 “Chair Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) is a tireless advocate who has championed commonsense solutions to the unacceptably high toll of deaths, injuries and costs caused by motor vehicle crashes.  The Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) addresses a wide range of known auto safety problems by advancing proven technological innovations.  It requires collision avoidance systems to prevent and mitigate crashes and other lifesaving systems as standard features.  The bill also takes important steps to curb crashes caused by drunk driving, safeguard children from “hot car” fatalities and injuries, direct a much-needed overhaul of the consumer information tool for new car buyers, protect against safety threats posed by keyless ignition systems, and require limousine safety upgrades.  With passage of the Moving Forward Act, the House of Representatives has taken crucial and commendable action to reduce needless carnage on our roadways, and we thank Chair Schakowsky for her integral work in securing inclusion of so many vital safety provisions,” said Cathy Chase, President of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

“While the country is justifiably focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, the Democratic Infrastructure bill in the House recognizes the extraordinary impact that autos have on our nation’s public health.  The bill addresses tragic hot car deaths, dangerous keyless ignition systems, updates ancient headlight standards, drunk driving technology, pedestrian protections and child safety seats.  These life-saving measures will reduce needless deaths and injuries related to motor vehicles,” said Jack Gillis, Executive Director of the Consumer Federation of America.

“This Title protects kids from hot cars, mandates limousine safety, makes advanced auto safety technology a requirement for every new vehicle, addresses carbon monoxide poisoning caused by keyless ignitions, makes new car assessment testing far more rigorous,  and uses technology reduce impaired driving,” said Sally Greenberg, National Consumers League executive director.  “We thank the committee majority for adopting this far reaching and much needed bill.”

“The only thing more tragic than a child or animal dying in a hot car is knowing that there are solutions that exist that could prevent this and they aren't being utilized. By not using available technology, we are shamefully allowing this to happen over and over again. The price of inaction is the life of children and that is unacceptable,” said Janette Fennell, president of KidsAndCars.org.

"Today as we face an unprecedented pandemic, there also is a silent, smoldering killer in our midst. Traffic violence is an unrecognized, preventable public health crisis and, as many other nations have proven, one we can solve now. The Motor Vehicle Safety Title in Moving Forward Act (H.R. 2) is a huge step forward. The safety upgrades in the bill, especially those to require advanced driver assistance systems in all new cars, will help to prevent or mitigate crashes and would likely have saved Sammy’s life. If enacted, these crucial protections will save many, many lives,” said Amy Cohen, Families for Safe Streets Co-founder and mother of Sammy Cohen Eckstein who was killed in a traffic crash at age 12.

"Safe Kids applauds Chair Pallone and Chair Schakowsky's leadership in advancing key safety provisions in the House-passed bill that, if enacted, will save thousands of lives a year. Major child passenger safety advancements in the bill, including requiring technology to prevent kids from dying in hot cars and clear labeling on booster seats to ensure proper use, will help spare parents the agony of losing a child," said Torine Creppy, President of Safe Kids.

"Americans should have the safest cars in the world - both for people inside the car and outside the car. Unfortunately, NHTSA has not kept pace with worldwide standards and does not test technologies that can help drivers avoid crashes with pedestrians and bicyclists. To make the U.S. a leader in traffic safety requires federal leadership," says Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. "The League of American Bicyclists applauds the House Energy and Commerce Committee for advancing legislation that requires NHTSA to up their game, both by testing these technologies for how well they protect people outside the car, and by making that information public - and it's more important now than ever as more and more people rediscover bicycling."

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