July 18, 2019

By: Tanya Snyder

Automakers have had to decide whether congressional lobbying is “the best use of their time and money,” said Eric Kennedy, an attorney at Buchalter, a business law firm specializing in autonomous vehicle issues. “And it seems like what they’ve decided is, it’s not.”

House and Senate lobbying on driverless car issues dropped 35 percent between the end of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, according to an analysis of lobbying data the Center for Responsive Politics provided to POLITICO. And according to Kennedy, those numbers will likely drop further when second quarter lobbying data is filed next week.

“Unfortunately, I think we will continue to see a decrease in lobbying activity in AV,” Kennedy told POLITICO. “Congress has sat on its hands for too long and the OEMs are losing patience. They will therefore continue directing resources to seeking help from local regulators.” He also noted that “with the upcoming presidential election year, the largely non-partisan AV issues will likely get put on the back-burner.”

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