The lame-duck session of the U.S. Congress will not pass self-driving car or electric-car tax credit legislation this year. Both topics will be punted to the new Congress in 2019.
Reuters reported neither hot-button issue for automakers will pass after numerous senators conceded the only way they would have was if they were attached to a bill introduced to continue funding the government through Feb. 2019. Congress introduced the bill Wednesday as a partial government shutdown looms.
Automakers have lobbied hard for both pieces of legislation to pass, but both topics stalled in 2018. The House of Representatives passed framework legislation to speed up the introduction of self-driving cars in 2017, but the legislation stalled in the Senate since. Proposals on how to handle the electric-car tax credit have also been introduced in both the House and Senate, though neither has made their way forward. The proposals vary in how they would extend the credit, with one calling for the end of the tax credit altogether.
Both topics will be brought up again in 2019, the analysts expect a tougher time to get either piece of legislation passed as Democrats take control of the House, while the Senate remains in Republican control.
Republican Senator John Thune and Democratic Senator Gary Peters led the charge on self-driving car legislation this past year and said they’d continue work on passing a law next year. Senator Peters warned China and South Korea could overtake the U.S. in the budding technology if the U.S. government doesn’t lay the groundwork for autonomous cars now.
As for the tax credit, Tesla will be the first automaker to lose the $7,500 credit beginning Jan. 1, 2019. General Motors is expected to reach the 200,000-vehicle cap early next year. Then, the credit will drop to $3,750 before it completely phases out over a year.