McCaskill Scores Legislative Hat-Trick in Highway Bill

Senator successfully includes her bipartisan bills to boost jobs by streamlining permitting, protect consumers by barring rental of recalled vehicles, strengthen energy grid

WASHINGTON – An agreement reached to pass a long-term U.S. highway bill has been shaped by a “hat-trick” of legislative accomplishments by U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill—after today’s announcement that it will include McCaskill provisions to boost jobs by streamlining the permitting process, protect consumers by barring the rental of recalled vehicles, and improve the reliability of our energy grid by easing regulations.

“It’s hard to get anything done in Washington these days, which is why these wins for Missouri are all the more important,” said McCaskill, a former Missouri State Auditor and former Chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. “We’ve scored victories today for Missouri jobs, businesses, and consumers—folks I’ll never stop fighting for—and for our country’s energy future, and I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this long-term bill across the finish line.”

The long-term highway bill will include the following McCaskill provisions:

  1. Federal Permitting Reform: McCaskill’s bipartisan plan to boost job opportunities by streamlining the federal permitting process, which is currently bogged down by red tape and uncertainty hindering investment and job-creation. The provision has the support of a number of Missouri groups including the Missouri Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Realtors, and the Missouri Soybean Association.
  1. Rental Car Safety: McCaskill’s provision requiring that rental cars subject to an open safety recall be grounded and repaired before they are rented to consumers. The legislation is supported by the rental car industry, auto safety groups, and General Motors.
  1. Grid Reliability: Bipartisan legislation by McCaskill provides more certainty for power grid reliability by protecting utilities from potentially conflicting statutes—preventing a situation in which a utility is penalized for  running a power plant in violation of environmental regulations when the utility has been ordered by the Department of Energy to run a plant for reliability purposes.

The long-term highway bill includes provisions of the Federal Permitting Improvement Act, which McCaskill has introduced along with Republican Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, that would streamline and speed up the federal permitting process for the largest and most complex projects, right now laden with an uncoordinated federal review process. Businesses looking to undertake large infrastructure projects are currently subject to a massive bureaucratic process involving up to a dozen agencies and approvals, and even after approval, litigation can stall projects for years. The World Bank has ranked the United States 41st in the world in “Dealing with Construction Permits,” a metric that measures how easy it is to actually build something.

The highway bill also includes provisions based on the Raechel and Jacqueline Houck Safe Rental Car Act, authored by McCaskill along with Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Barbara Boxer of California, requiring that rental cars subject to an open safety recall be grounded and repaired before they are rented to consumers. The legislation is supported by the rental car industry, auto safety groups, and General Motors.

The highway bill’s inclusion of the Grid Reliability Act means the adoption of provisions to help utilities comply with grid reliability, and ease conflicting environmental regulations and statutes.

Visit mccaskill.senate.gov/jobs to learn more about McCaskill’s fight to boost job opportunities for Missouri.

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