Capitol Hill Roundup

By Steve Brachmann
December 10, 2018

Capitol Hill RoundupThis week on Capitol Hill, the House of Representatives will host almost every hearing that will relate to technology and innovation, including three hearings originally scheduled for last week but moved due to the national day of mourning for former President George H. W. Bush.

Hearings in the House will focus on topics including advanced fuels for next generation engines, efforts to speed the development of innovative medical treatments, legislation for freeing up broadband Internet spectrum for public use and government IT acquisition processes. Over in the Senate, there will be a hearing in the middle of the week on Chinese espionage that will explore how entities in that country have been involved in cyberattacks and Internet piracy against American targets.

Tuesday, December 11th

House Subcommittee on Environment

Discussion Draft: The 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building. In late November, Representatives Bill Flores (R-TX) and John Shimkus (R-IL) introduced a discussion draft of the 21st Century Transportation Fuels Act. The bill would amend both the Clean Air Act and the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act with respect to high-octane fuels which can bring increased fuel economy and performance for next generation engines. The draft legislation is designed to enable a transition to 21st century drivetrains by transition from the Renewable Fuel Standard established in 2005 and towards a national octane specification which makes greater use of ethanol, a low-cost octane source. This hearing was originally scheduled for Wednesday, December 5th.

House Subcommittee on Health

Implementing the 21st Century Cures Act: An Updated From the Office of the National Coordinator

At 10:15 AM on Tuesday in 2322 Rayburn. The 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law in December 2016 and created various programs and intercenter institutes designed to improve the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s (FDA) ability to accelerate the development of innovative medical products and treatments with the help of $500 million in funding to be dispersed over the course of nine years. This December, the FDA released a framework for the Real-World Evidence Program created by the 21st Century Cures Act which allows the agency to collect data through patients’ normal medical care instead of clinical trials to be used to support approval of new indications for drugs that have been approved by the FDA.

House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

RAY BAUM’S Act: A Bipartisan Foundation for Bridging the Digital Divide

At 2:00 PM on Tuesday in 2322 Rayburn. This hearing on the Repack Airwaves Building Better Access for Users of Modern Services (RAY BAUM’S) Act was originally scheduled to be held on Thursday, December 6th, and was discussed in last week’s Capitol Hill Roundup. The witness panel is still expected to include Curtis LeGeyt, Executive Vice President, Government Relations, National Association of Broadcasters; Tim Donovan, Senior Vice President, Legislative Affairs, Competitive Carriers Association; Jeff Cohen, Chief Counsel, APCO International; and Bohdan Zachary, General Manager, Milwaukee Public Broadcast Station.

House Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities

Department of Defense’s Artificial Intelligence Structure, Investments, and Applications

At 3:30 PM on Tuesday in 2118 Rayburn. This hearing on the Department of Defense’s efforts on AI implementation was originally scheduled to be held on Wednesday, December 5th, and was also discussed in last week’s Capitol Hill Roundup. The witness panel is still expected to include Dr. Lisa Porter, Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering; and Dana Deasy, Chief Information Officer, Department of Defense.

Wednesday, December 12th

House Subcommittees on Information Technology and Government Operations

Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) Scorecard 7.0

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2154 Rayburn. The Federal Information Technology Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) was passed into law as part of the 2015 Department of Defense budget bill. The law charges government agencies with developing streamlined plans for acquiring computer technologies in an effort to reduce waste in IT acquisition processes. The sixth version of the FITARA scorecard, released this May, showed that while five agencies improved their FITARA scores, 11 agencies saw their score decline and no agency received an “A” grade for FITARA compliance.

Senate Committee on the Judiciary

China’s Non-Traditional Espionage Against the United States: The Threat and Potential Policy Responses

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building. A report issued late November that analyzed 274 documented cases of Chinese worldwide espionage since 2000 found that nearly half of Chinese espionage efforts target military and space technologies in the United States and that Chinese entities committing espionage comprise government agencies, state-owned enterprises, private companies and universities. The first witness panel for this hearing will include The Honorable John Demers, Assistant Attorney General, National Security Division, Department of Justice; The Honorable Christopher Krebs, Director, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, Department of Homeland Security; and E.W. “Bill” Priestap, Assistant Director, Counterintelligence Division, Federal Bureau of Investigations. The second witness panel will include Dean Chang, Senior Research Fellow, Asian Studies Center, Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy, Heritage Foundation; Peter Harrell, Adjunct Senior Fellow, Energy Economics and Security Program, Center for a New American Security; and Alex Joske, Researcher, Australian Strategic Policy Institute.

The Author

Steve Brachmann

Steve Brachmann is a freelance journalist located in Buffalo, New York. He has worked professionally as a freelancer for more than a decade. He writes about technology and innovation. His work has been published by The Buffalo News, The Hamburg Sun, USAToday.com, Chron.com, Motley Fool and OpenLettersMonthly.com. Steve also provides website copy and documents for various business clients and is available for research projects and freelance work.

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Discuss this

There are currently 3 Comments comments. Join the discussion.

  1. Pro Say December 10, 2018 12:11 pm

    Thanks Steve. These updates are good to know.

    Anything coming up (scheduled, being discussed, or even rumored) in the patent / IP arena?

  2. Steve Brachmann December 11, 2018 10:53 am

    @Pro Say – Not that I’ve found or heard. In my experience, it doesn’t appear as though many hearings are scheduled more than a week in advance. One of the reasons that I put these Roundups together is to make sure that patent/IP hearings don’t fall through the cracks, so to speak.

  3. Pro Say December 11, 2018 1:18 pm

    Thanks Steve. Boy, only a week +/- for hearings doesn’t seem like sufficient prior public notice for such important — and often very important — components of a democracy.

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