Capitol Hill Roundup

This week is a very busy one on Capitol Hill where hearings on various subjects related to technology and innovation are concerned. The House of Representatives will hold hearings on Chinese threats in innovation supremacy as well as nuclear energy and the American Innovation Act of 2018. The Senate will host hearings focused on quantum information science, consumer data privacy and reducing health care costs through innovation. Both houses will hold hearings to look at activities going on at the nation’s space exploration agency, NASA.

Tuesday, September 25th

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources – Full Committee Hearing to Examine DOE’s Efforts in the Field of Quantum Information Science

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building. Quantum information science is a relatively young field of study which focuses on how the phenomena of quantum physics can impact fields of information technology, such as computing. Whereas classical computing architectures utilize a controlled flow of electrons to transmit data in a flow of bits having one of two states (1 or 0), quantum computers use incredibly small entities, such as particles of light which can exist both as a particle and as a wave, to calculate incredible complex computational models such as those for weather forecasts or chemical processes. In May, U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) would invest $30 million over three years in quantum information science projects. The hearing’s witness panel includes representatives from the DOE, Argonne National Laboratory, Microsoft and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Wednesday, September 26th

House Subcommittee on Information Technology Countering China: Ensuring America Remains the World Leader in Advanced Technologies and Innovation

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2247 Rayburn House Office Building. Tensions between the Chinese and U.S. governments have been on full display in recent months with the administration of President Donald Trump invoking trade protections and sanctions in response to unfair trade practices, including those involving intellectual property. China has been aiming to become a world power in innovation and research & development through the implementation of the Made in China 2025 program. In recent years, the Council on Foreign Relations has reported that investments from both private and state-owned Chinese entities in American tech developers poses a national security threat to the U.S. At the same time, reforms to the U.S. patent system have dramatically weakened patent rights in this country, discouraging the investment of capital and research into critical fields of emerging technologies. The hearing’s witness panel has yet to be announced.

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation – Examining Safeguards for Consumer Data Privacy

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in G50 Dirksen Senate Office Building. Many Internet companies have come under increasing political scrutiny in the months since the Cambridge Analytica data scandal first made news headlines this March. In the European Union and the state of California, new consumer data privacy rules have gone into effect which require companies to make consumers aware the types of data which are being collected at point-of-sale and gives consumers the ability to opt out of having their data collected. The hearing’s witness panel includes representatives from AT&T,, Google, Twitter, Apple and Charter Communications.

House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology – Solutions to Strengthen U.S. Public Safety Communications

At 10:30 AM on Wednesday in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building. The need to secure the communications of public safety agencies is brought into focus in the wake of natural disasters like the recent flooding disaster caused by Hurricane Florence. In mid-September, Google formed a partnership with emergency response tech developer RapidSOS to facilitate the delivery of location information of 9-1-1 callers to public safety agencies. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is also testing a new Emergency Alert System that can deliver Presidential Alerts to most cell phones in the U.S. during a national emergency. The hearing’s witness panel includes James Curry, Communications Division Head, Hunterdon County, New Jersey Department of Public Safety; and Eddie Reyes, Director, Public Safety Communications, Prince William County Government.

House Subcommittee on Space – 60 Years of NASA Leadership in Human Space Exploration: Past, Present, and Future

At 2:00 PM on Wednesday in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was enacted by President Dwight Eisenhower in July 1958 and since that time the agency has led the nation’s space exploration efforts including both manned and unmanned missions. The hearing’s witness panel includes representatives from NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate and the Directors of the Johnson Space Center, the Marshall Space Flight Center and the John F. Kennedy Space Center.

Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness – Global Space Race: Ensuring the United States Remains the Leader in Space

At 2:15 PM on Wednesday in 253 Russell Senate Office Building. This is the third hearing held by the Senate Space Subcommittee on NASA authorization and this one will focus on challenges in undertaking human and robotic exploratory missions, the agency’s research in aeronautics and space technology as well as how current and planned initiatives will affect the agency’s future mission goals. The sole witness for this hearing is James Bridenstine, NASA Administrator.

Senate Committee on Armed Services – Cyber Operational Readiness of the Department of Defense

At 2:30 PM on Wednesday in 106 Dirksen Senate Office Building. In mid-September, the Pentagon released an updated cyber strategy for the Department of Defense (DOD) to increase cyber efforts and improve recruiting, training and retention for its cyber personnel. The hearing’s witness panel includes the DOD’s Chief Information Officer and the Principal Deputy Cyber Advisor as well as representatives of United States Cyber Command and U.S. Army Cyber Command. The committee will enter a closed session during the hearing.

House Committee on Rules – Meeting Announcement for H.R. 6756, H.R. 6757, and H.R. 6760

At 3:00 PM on Wednesday in H-313, The Capitol. The House Rules Committee will discuss various bills including H.R. 6756, the American Innovation Act of 2018. This bill, as currently written, would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to promote new business innovation by preserving tax credits after ownership changes and enable further deduction of startup and organizational expenditures. Other bills to be discussed at this hearing include H.R. 6757, the Family Savings Act of 2018, and H.R. 6760, the Protecting Family and Small Business Tax Cuts Act of 2018.

Thursday, September 27th

House Subcommittee on Energy – Advancing Nuclear Energy: Powering the Future

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building. In September, the House of Representatives passed the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act of 2017, which had passed the Senate in March. The bill provides a research infrastructure to promote scientific discoveries in nuclear technology among academic institutions, public agencies and private businesses and enables public-private partnership for demonstrating novel reactor concepts. The hearing’s witness panel includes representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, X-energy, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Idaho National Laboratory.

Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions – Reducing Health Care Costs: Improving Affordability Through Innovation

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 430 Dirksen Senate Office Building. The hearing’s witness panel will include representatives from Epiphany Health Direct Primary Care of North Port, FL; The Alliance of Madison, WI; the Executive of King County, Washington State; and HCA Healthcare of Nashville, TN.

House Subcommittee on Energy – DOE Modernization: The Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response

At 10:15 AM on Thursday in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building. This spring, the DOE created a new Office of Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response (CESER) to lead the department’s emergency preparedness and coordinated response activities. In early September, Karen Evans was sworn in as the first Assistant Secretary for CESER.

House Judiciary Committee – Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement Act of 2017

At 2:00 PM on Thursday in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building. H.R. 3945, the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act was introduced by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) in October 2017. The bill would establish an alternative dispute resolution program for copyright small claims including the establishment of a Copyright Claims Board to serve as an alternative forum where parties can voluntarily resolve certain copyright claims.

Friday, September 28th

House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit – Examining Opportunities for Financial Markets in the Digital Era

At 9:00 AM Friday in 2128 Rayburn House Office Building. Various emerging sectors of technology, including automation, artificial intelligence and blockchain, have the potential to serve as major disruptors in financial markets across the world.


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