With the rise of thefts of automotive catalytic converters, Congress is considering federal legislation to combat the problem. When a catalytic converter is stolen it is an expensive and complicated problem for the owners of the cars. It is a crime that can touch everyone that owns a car. In fact, the sponsor of the House legislation, Congress Baird from Indiana, had a converter stolen from his car after he had been approached by the law enforcement community in his district who asked him to introduce the bill. Needless to say, after that experience, he readily agreed to introduce the bill.
There are three bills that have been introduced on the subject. Two of them are identical. S. 154 and H.R. 621 are designed to solve the problem primarily by requiring that converters be marked with automotive VIN identifying numbers. S. 154 was introduced by Minnesota Senator Klobuchar. H.R. 621 was introduced by Congressman Baird. Neither bill has been considered by the relevant House and Senate Committees and have not moved in the legislative process beyond introduction. In conversations with both offices IPMI has learned that neither bill is set in stone and the sponsors are willing to consider ways to make the bill more effective. Both offices also have made it clear that they do not want to shut down the recycling industry as they understand the need to recycle the critical minerals contained in the converters.
There are other industry groups that have concerns about the Klobuchar/Baird bill, including the automobile manufacturers. At the same time, in late May a letter was sent to Congress in support of the bills signed by over 20 organizations, including the National Automobile Dealers Association, the American Car Rental Association, the American Property Casualty Association. IPMI is currently meeting with a number of Senate offices to discuss our concerns with the bill.
Just recently the third bill was introduced. It is S. 2061, introduced by New Jersey Senator Menendez. The bill creates a Catalytic Converter Theft Task Force. The members of the task force will be appointed by the Attorney General, the Secretary of Transportation and also includes representatives of State and Local law enforcement. The task force has 18 months to study the issue and make recommendations to Congress on legislation to combat the problem.
Given the number of interested stakeholders in the issue, many of which have conflicting views on the bill, we do not expect any of the bills to pass in the near future. IPMI will continue to be involved in the legislative process tom insure that any bill that passes does not harm the recycling industry.