This week on Capitol Hill, the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives has planned a number of hearings on climate change and antitrust matters, especially where the T-Mobile/Sprint merger is concerned. In the Senate, cybersecurity takes center stage at the Senate Homeland Security and Energy Committees. Elsewhere in Washington, D.C., the Brookings Institution got the week started early with a look at the impacts of artificial intelligence on urban life; Inventing America hosts a half-day event looking at current issues in the U.S. patent system; and the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation examines the future of autonomous vehicles in the freight industry.
Monday, February 11
10:00 AM on Monday at Brookings’ Falk Auditorium, 1775 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, DC 20036. Two-thirds of the world’s population are expected to be living in metropolitan areas by the year 2050. Many city planners are looking to artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics to handle the issues posed by increased urbanization to public safety, transportation and housing. This event, which took place earlier today, looked at issues in deploying AI for urban needs, including financing, public oversight and deployment. The panel discussion was moderated by Darrell West, Brookings’ VP and Director of Governance Studies and the Founding Director of the Center for Technology Innovation. The panel included Nicol Turner Lee, Brookings Fellow, Governance Studies, Center for Technology Innovation; Adie Tomer, Brookings Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program; and Lorie Wigle, VP, Software and Services Group, Intel. View the archived webcast here.
At 2:00 PM on Monday in Brookings’ Falk Auditorium. Japan’s important role in the growth of Asia’s digital network infrastructure has been cemented in recent years through a $200 billion Quality Infrastructure Initiative program and cooperation mechanisms with the U.S. and Australia to increase private investment in regional infrastructure. Japan’s role in Asia’s connectivity infrastructure will be the focus of a keynote speech given by Kohei Toyoda, Director for International Coordination, Trade Policy Bureau, Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Toyoda’s keynote will be followed by a discussion with a panel including Nancy Lee, Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development; Joshua Meltzer, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development; Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, Director, The European Centre for International Policy Economy and Senior Fellow, London School of Economics; and Shin Oya, Senior Consulting Fellow at Asia Pacific Institute and Chief Representative for Strategic Research, Japan Bank for International Cooperation. The panel discussion will be moderated by Mireya Solis, Director for Center for East Asia Policy Studies, Senior Fellow of Foreign Policy for Center for East Asia Studies, and the Philip Knight Chair in Japan Studies.
Tuesday, February 12
At 8:30 AM on Tuesday in the Offices of Covington & Burling LLP, 850 10th St. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20268. This event will focus on the role that innovation plays in America’s economy and issues which have impacted American inventors in recent years including the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), judicial interpretations of Section 101 of U.S. patent law as well as China. Speakers at this event include Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE); Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH); Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), Ranking Member, House Judiciary Committee; Andrei Iancu, Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; Alden Abbott, General Counsel, Federal Trade Commission; Dr. Barbara Gault, VP and Executive Director, Institute for Women’s Policy Research; Brian Pomper, Executive Director, Innovation Alliance; David Kappos, Partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and former USPTO Director; Jeff Moon, President, China Moon Strategies, LLC; Laurie Self, VP and Counsel, Government Affairs, Qualcomm; Melissa Brand, Associate Counsel and Director for Intellectual Property Policy, Biotechnology Innovation Organization; and Mike Schwartz, Senior VP, IP Litigation, Rovi.
House Science, Space, and Technology Committee
At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 2318 Rayburn. With the Democratic Party in control of the House of Representatives, a spate of hearings related to climate science and climate change have been scheduled in these early days of the 116th Congress. Measures which have been proposed to limit the effects of climate change tend to focus heavily on sectors of industry and transportation that create high levels of emissions as well as innovations and regulations meant to reduce those emissions. The witness panel for this hearing includes Dr. Natalie Mahowald, Irving Porter Church Professor of Engineering, Faculty Director for the Environment, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, Cornell University; Dr. Robert Kopp, Director, Rutgers Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences, and Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Rutgers University; Dr. Jennifer Francis, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center; Dr. Joseph Majkut, Director of Climate Policy, Niskanen Center; and Dr. Kristie Ebi, Rohn & Haas Endowed Professor in Public Health Sciences, Director, Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE), University of Washington.
House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources
At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 1324 Longworth. This hearing, which is scheduled to run concurrently with the House Science Committee’s climate science hearing, will discuss proposals on transitioning the country’s energy needs in order to address climate change concerns. The witness panel for this hearing hasn’t been announced yet.
Information Technology & Innovation Foundation
At 10:00 AM on Tuesday at 1101 K Street N.W., Suite 610A, Washington, D.C. 20005. Advances in self-driving technologies in recent years have focused on passenger cars but the automation of freight transportation, including railroads, airlines and ships, can dramatically increase supply chain efficiencies in a wide range of industries. This event will feature a panel discussion on automation technologies in the freight industry and regulatory approaches for incorporating those technologies in different industry sectors. The panel includes Adrian Arnakis, Senior VP of Government Affairs, Association of American Railroads; Thomas Jensen, Senior VP of Transportation Policy, UPS; and Suzanne Murtha, National Lead for Connected and Automated Technologies, AECOM. The panel will be moderated by Joe Kennedy, Senior Fellow, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.
Progressive Policy Institute & Allied for Startups
At 11:30 AM on Tuesday in Washington Court Hotel’s Atrium Ballroom, 525 New Jersey Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20001. Small companies and startups in both Europe and the U.S. have had issues scaling up over the past two decades. This event will focus on issues impacting small business growth including regulatory compliance and tax burdens as well as targeted policy efforts to address those problems.
Wednesday, February 13
House Subcommittee on Communications & Technology
At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2123 Rayburn. In 2018, T-Mobile US and Sprint Corporation, respectively the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless communications service providers by subscriber base, announced their plans to merge into a single provider which would still trail both Verizon and AT&T in terms of subscribers. In early February, the New York State Public Service Commission approved the T-Mobile/Sprint merger, the 16th of 19 state public utility commissions that must do so for the merger to obtain regulatory approval, and T-Mobile CEO John Legere submitted a written pledge to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai indicating that New T-Mobile won’t increase its subscriber rates for three years if the merger is approved. The witness panel for this hearing hasn’t been announced yet.
Senate Committee on Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs
At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in SD-342 Dirksen. As the agenda for this business meeting indicates, the Senate Homeland Security Committee will be considering nominations to the Merit Systems Protection Board and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) along with about a dozen proposed pieces of legislation. This includes cybersecurity bills such as S.315, a bill to authorize cyber hunt and incident response teams at the DHS, and S.333, the National Cybersecurity Preparedness Consortium Act.
Thursday, February 14
House Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law
At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 2141 Rayburn. Another hearing on the proposed merger between wireless carriers T-Mobile and Sprint which will focus on the antitrust implications of the potential deal, if approved. The witness panel for this hearing hasn’t been announced yet.
House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection & Commerce
At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 2123 Rayburn. The inclusion of women and ethnicities which are typically underrepresented in the tech world, especially in the burgeoning areas of artificial intelligence and blockchain, has been a hot topic in recent months. The potential benefits of a more diverse tech workforce include a wider degree of solutions to technical problems, increased creativity and the development of technologies that serve a larger portion of the population. The witness panel for this hearing hasn’t yet been announced.
Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources
At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 366 Dirksen. Threats to the U.S. energy grid pose a major risk to the nation’s infrastructure. Estimates on the potential costs of a cyber attack on the energy grid reach into the hundreds of billions of dollars and last year the Trump Administration accused Russia of coordinating cyber attacks on the grid and other sectors of the infrastructure. The witness panel for this hearing includes the Honorable Neil Chatterjee, Chairman, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; the Honorable Karen Evans, Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity, Energy Security, and Emergency Response, U.S. Department of Energy; Major William Keber, Executive Officer, West Virginia National Guard Critical Infrastructure Protection Battalion; James Bobb, President and CEO, North American Electric Reliability Corporation; and David Edward Whitehead, CEO, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc.
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