By a WALL STREET JOURNAL Staff Reporter
WASHINGTON -- The Senate continued to block Sen. John McCain (R.,
Ariz.) from bringing up auto-safety legislation prompted by the
Firestone tire recall.
The Senate Commerce Committee, chaired by
Mr. McCain, unanimously approved a bill that
would require the auto industry to report more
information on potential safety problems and
would impose jail sentences on executives who
knowingly approve the sale of defective products that result in death or
injury. But several senators exercised their right under the chamber's
rules to block a floor vote.
The House is working on its version of the legislation. A vote in the full
House is expected early next week. If senators don't remove their
holds, the Senate won't get a chance to take up any version of the bill.
Mr. McCain chastised opponents for not identifying themselves and
accused them of caving into auto-industry lobbyists. Auto groups say
Mr. McCain's bill is "defective legislation" that would criminalize legitimate
engineering-design decisions. They support a provision of the House bill
that would allow company officials to avoid criminal prosecution if they
correct any misleading reports to the government "within a reasonable
time," but Mr. McCain calls that "a loophole."