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This Week on Capitol Hill: World IP Day, Cybersecurity Hearings and Promoting Blockchain-Based Innovation

This week on Capitol Hill, both the House of Representatives and Senate are back in full action after the conclusion of two weeks of work periods. Tuesday is an especially busy day for technology and innovation hearings at both houses of Congress. Hearings at the House that day will focus on stopping robocalls, carbon reduction technologies and 2020 fiscal year funding for a couple of government research and development agencies. Tuesday hearings in the Senate will look at American leadership in nuclear energy, cybersecurity concerns related to the Internet of Things and the Senate IP Subcommittee observes World Intellectual Property Day, with a look at IP in sports. The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will also host an event on Capitol Hill this week to look at the prospects of blockchain technology adoption in various industries.

Monday, April 29

United States Patent and Trademark Office World IP Day on Capitol Hill

4:00 pm to 6:30 pm at Rayburn House Office Building, Rayburn Foyer

This evening, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will hold a celebration of World Intellectual Property Day on Capitol Hill, focusing on the theme of World IP Day 2019, “Reach for the Gold: IP and Sports.” Speakers include Laura Peter
Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Deputy Director; Dr. Phil Wagner, Founder and CEO of Sparta Science; and John Sandage, Deputy Director General, Patents and Technology Sector, World Intellectual Property Organization.

Tuesday, April 30 

House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology 

Legislating to Stop the Onslaught of Annoying Robocalls

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 2123 Rayburn House Office Building.

In 2018, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) received 232,000 complaints from consumers regarding unwanted robocalls, representing an increase of more than 34% over the number of such complaints received in 2015. A couple of proposed pieces of legislation have been introduced into the House to deal with various issues with robocalls after some estimates indicated that 48 billion such calls were made during 2018. The witness panel for this hearing includes Aaron Foss, Founder, Nomorobo; Dave Summitt, Chief Information Security Officer, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Fellow for the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology; Margot Saunders, Senior Counsel, National Consumer Law Center; and Patrick Halley, Senior Vice President, Advocacy and Regulatory Affairs, USTelecom – The Broadband Association.

House Subcommittee on Environment 

A Review of the NOAA Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 2318 Rayburn.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is the scientific agency within the U.S. government responsible for environment-related research and development activities through the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. The 2020 fiscal year budget proposed by the administration of President Donald Trump would cut NOAA’s funding by 18% and eliminate about 41% of funding for its research and development office, including a reduction of about 50% to the Climate Research program. The sole witness for this hearing is Dr. Neil Jacobs, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction, performing the duties of Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, NOAA.

House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis 

Solving the Climate Crisis: Drawing Down Carbon and Building Up the American Economy

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 2247 Rayburn.

Innovations in clean energy and carbon capture technologies have been discussed as part of the solution to ensure that carbon pollution levels are reduced to net-zero by the middle of the 21st century. This hearing is the first of several by this select committee that will look at climate change policies to be adopted by the U.S. federal government. The witness panel for this hearing includes Diana Liverman, Professor of Geography, University of Arizona; Hal Harvey, CEO, Energy Innovation; David Foster, Distinguished Associate, Energy Futures Initiative; and Christopher Guith, Acting President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Energy Institute.

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

U.S. Leadership in Nuclear Energy and to Receive Testimony on NELA

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 366 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

This hearing will explore ways in which the federal government can re-establish global leadership in nuclear energy development and also will involve testimony on S. 903, the Nuclear Energy Leadership Act (NELA). The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Mark Peters, Laboratory Director, Idaho National Laboratory; Dr. Ashley Finan, Executive Director, Nuclear Innovation Alliance; Maria Korsnick, President and CEO, Nuclear Energy Institute; Mark McManus, General President, United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada, AFL-CIO; and the Honorable Jeffrey Merrifield, Former Commissioner, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Partner and Energy Section Leader, Pillsbury Law Firm.

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

How Can Policymakers Support Blockchain-Based Innovation and Consumer Protection? 

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 2325 Rayburn.

The digitization of financial transactions has sped up rapidly thanks to the growth of e-commerce and the Internet but blockchain technologies, which offer the prospect of decentralized ledger transactions enabling benefits for various industries, have yet to see widespread adoption. This event features four speakers from the Congressional Blockchain Caucus including Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-FL). The event also features a discussion with a panel including Alan McQuinn, Senior Policy Analyst, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation; Victoria Adams, Government Practice Lead, ConsenSys; Tejas Bhatt, Interim Vice President, Food Safety and Health, Walmart; Alan Cohn, Counsel, The Blockchain Alliance; and Daniel Gorfine, Chief Innovation Officer, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Director, LabCFTC.

House Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Innovation

Resourcing DHS’ Cybersecurity and Innovation Missions: A Review of the Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Science and Technology Directorate

At 2:00 PM on Tuesday in 310 Cannon House Office Building.

The proposed 2020 budget by the Trump Administration maintains a similar level of funding for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) compared to 2019 levels but deep cuts have been reported for the DHS’ Science and Technology Directorate and flat funding levels may not be keeping pace with the rate at which these programs have been expanding in recent years. The witness panel for this hearing includes the Honorable Christopher Krebs, Director, CISA, DHS; and William Bryan, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary, Science and Technology Directorate, DHS.

House Committee on the Judiciary

Legislative Markup Meeting

At 2:00 PM on Tuesday in 2141 Rayburn.

The House Judiciary Committee will convene a meeting to markup various pieces of proposed legislation which are related to promoting consumer access to generic drugs, a hot topic of debate on Capitol Hill in recent months given the rising price of prescription drugs and the effects of pharmaceutical patents on generic availability. These bills include H.R. 965, the Creating and Restoring Equal Access to Equivalent Samples (CREATES) Act, and the currently unnumbered Stop Significant and Time-wasting Abuse Limiting Legitimate Innovation of New Generics (STALLING) Act.

House Subcommittee on Research and Technology 

Closing the Loop: Emerging Technologies in Plastics Recycling

At 2:00 PM on Tuesday in 2318 Rayburn.

Pollution from sources of plastics have become a major concern in today’s society and, recently, the industry group Alliance to End Plastic pledged $1 billion in funding research and development to create a sustainable path for plastic use. The witness panel for this hearing includes Paul Sincock, City Manager, City of Plymouth, Michigan; Dr. Govind Menon, Director, School of Science and Technology, Chair, Department of Physics and Chemistry, Troy University; Dr. Gregg Beckham, Senior Research Fellow, National Renewable Energy Laboratory; and Tim Boven, Recycling Commercial Director, Packaging & Specialty Plastics, Dow.

Senate Subcommittee on Intellectual Property 

World Intellectual Property Day 2019: The Role of Intellectual Property in Sports and Public Safety

At 2:30 on Tuesday in 226 Dirksen.

The theme of 2019’s World Intellectual Property Day was Reach for Gold: IP and Sports with events around the globe focusing on the intersection between intellectual property and competitive sports. The witness panel for this hearing will include Matt Priest, President and CEO, Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America; Andrew Love, Brand Security/Investigations, Specialized Bicycles; Riché McKnight, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Global Head of Litigation, Endeavor; and Michael Potenza, Vice President and Assistant General Counsel, Intellectual Property, NBA Properties, Inc.

Senate Subcommittee on Security

Strengthening the Cybersecurity of the Internet of Things

At 2:30 PM on Tuesday in 562 Dirksen.

The advent of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G networks promise data download speeds and device connectivity an order of magnitude greater than what consumers experience today but greater connectivity also means greater cybersecurity risks. This hearing will explore ways to incentivize building cybersecurity features into IoT products and how the public and private sector can work together to promote 5G network security. The witness panel for this hearing will include Michael Bergman, Vice President, Technology & Standards, Consumer Technology Association; Matthew Eggers, Vice President, Cybersecurity Policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Harley Geiger, Director of Public Policy, Rapid7; Robert Mayer, Senior Vice President for Cybersecurity, US Telecom – The Broadband Association; and Dr. Charles Romine, Director, Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Wednesday, May 1 

House Subcommittee on the Department of Homeland Security 

FY2020 Budget Hearing – Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency

At 9:30 AM on Wednesday in 2008 Rayburn.

This is the week’s second hearing at the House on the flat levels of funding for DHS’ CISA, the agency responsible for protecting critical infrastructure in the U.S. from both physical and cyber threats. The sole witness for this hearing is the Honorable Christopher Krebs, Director, CISA.

Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 

Consumer Perspectives: Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in G50 Dirksen.

The dawning of the Digital Age has spawned numerous advances in consumer services accessible over networks but expectations vary on what kind of information is collected by businesses and how that information can be used. This hearing will explore tools that can be developed to help consumers make more informed privacy decisions as well as a discussion on data privacy rights that should be codified into U.S. law. The witness panel for this hearing will include Helen Dixon, Data Protection Commissioner, Republic of Ireland; Neema Singh Guliani, Senior Legislative Counsel, American Civil Liberties Union; Jules Polonetsky, CEO, Future of Privacy Forum; and Jim Steyer, CEO and Founder, Common Sense Media.


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Join the Discussion

One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Ken]
    May 1, 2019 06:45 pm

    It really amazes me how Congress can promote carbon reduction technologies and blockchain-based innovation simultaneously. Do they really fundamentally not understand.