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House panel rejects extra funding for NHTSA

Agency administrator Mark Rosekind points out that complaints have doubled to 80,000 annually, but reviewed by just nine staffers.

A House panel has reportedly rejected a proposal that would have provided additional funding for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Republican-led appropriations subcommittee last week approved a transportation spending bill that excluded any additional funding for the NHTSA, rejecting the Obama administration's request to triple the agency's defect-investigation budget, according to The Detroit News.

In a follow-up interview, NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind pointed out that complaints have nearly doubled to 80,000 filings in 2014, however the agency can only afford to assign nine workers to review the submissions.

"We're pretty concerned," he said. "You can't keep talking about wanting to make things safer and more efficient."

Legislation that would provide monetary incentives for industry whistleblowers has received more support. The proposal would fund such actions as a 30-percent cut of any federal fines levied against automakers, however, instead of pulling from tax dollars.

Some legislators have argued that the agency could benefit from internal reforms to achieve its goals, rather than receiving more funding in the near-term. Separate proposals have also called for higher fine caps to serve as a natural reinforcement of existing laws.

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