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AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Washington lawmakers are getting the ball rolling on promised efforts to hasten the rollout of self-driving cars.

  • Senate: Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune and Democrat Gary Peters said Monday they hope to release a bill together by the end of the year on self-driving vehicles. "Left on its own, the slow pace of regulation could become a significant obstacle to the development" of self-driving cars, the two said in a statement; of particular interest is "ways to improve regulatory flexibility for testing and development of self-driving vehicles without changes to regulations that would affect conventional autos."
  • House: Tuesday hearing will focus on on the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Republican lawmakers have indicated that they want to take hands-off approach. "You don't want to have the government say this is what the design is going to be," said Ohio Rep. Bob Latta, who chairs the subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that will host the hearing. "The private sector can come up with the designs."

The context: Silicon Valley and Detroit aren't slowing down when it comes to getting self-driving cars — and trucks — on the road. Regulators have started to grapple with the issues, and many companies want the federal government to help them avoid a patchwork of state laws that would make it hard for the market to grow.

What we're watching: How lawmakers address the potential impact of autonomous vehicles on employment, which very much remains an open question.

Go deeper

Updated 11 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

Biden delivers his inaugural address on the West Front of the Capitol. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: The Celebrate America event, with remarks by Biden and Harris.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

President Biden faces a deeply broken America

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As President Biden begins his term in office today, he'll be tasked with leading a country beset with deep, long-term problems.

Why it matters: Though the pandemic has made them worse, existential challenges around inequality, social alienation and political division in the U.S. were in place well before SARS-CoV-2 arrived on American shores. The country's future will depend in large part on whether the choices made over the next four years can flatten the curve of American decline.

Facebook, Instagram transfer accounts, followers to Biden administration

Screenshot of official White House Facebook account.

Facebook on Wednesday confirmed that it is transferring the millions of followers of the official Facebook and Instagram White House accounts to the Biden administration.

Details: The accounts for "@POTUS," "@VicePresident" ("@VP" on Instagram) and "@FLOTUS" are having the followers from their personal Pages and accounts be transferred over. It's unclear when that transition process will be complete.

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