The U.S. Senate gets busy today with hearings on the tech world’s impacts on America’s youth as well as NASA’s plans for manned missions on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. On Wednesday, Senator Coons and Representative Stivers will reintroduce the STRONGER Patents Act, which is aimed at strengthening the patent system and promoting innovation. NASA’s plans to commercialize low Earth orbit will also be discussed in the House of Representatives, along with biometric technologies employed by the Department for Homeland Security and cybersecurity threats to the U.S. energy grid. Around the U.S. capital, both the Brookings Institution and the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation will look at tech issues involved in the current trade war between the U.S. and China. ITIF will also explore the potential use of antitrust law to break up American tech giants on Thursday.
Tuesday, July 9
Senate Committee on the Judiciary
At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
In early July, the Internet Service Providers Association UK announced that web browser provider Mozilla was named a 2019 Internet Villain for its development of a new security protocol which allegedly bypassed UK filtering obligations and parental controls to undermine Internet safety standards. In recent weeks, the British children’s charity Barnardo’s issued a report warning that children under the age of five were at risk of developing Internet addiction. The witness panel for this hearing hasn’t been announced yet.
Senate Subcommittee on Energy
At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 366 Dirksen.
The House Energy Subcommittee will convene a hearing to consider various pieces of proposed legislation, several of which relate to energy storage and renewable energy technologies. These include S. 1183, the Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act; S. 1593, the Promoting Grid Storage Act; S. 1602, the Better Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Act; and S. 1685, the Launching Energy Advancement and Development through Innovations for Natural Gas Act.
Senate Subcommittee on Aviation and Space
At 3:00 PM on Tuesday in 562 Dirksen.
On July 16, 1969, the Apollo 11 mission to send astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon launched from Earth. The mission reached the moon by July 20 and touched back down on Earth on July 24. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this mission, the Senate Aviation and Space Subcommittee will hold this hearing to honor the Apollo 11 mission and examine NASA’s future plans for manned spaceflight missions. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dr. Mary Lynne Dittmar, President and CEO, Coalition for Deep Space Exploration; Homer Hickam, Author, Rocket Boys; Gene Kranz, Flight Director, Apollo 11; and Eric Stallmer, President, Commercial Spaceflight Federation.
Wednesday, July 10
House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics
At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building.
In early June, NASA released a call for proposals as an appendix to the agency’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships public-private business program. NASA is seeking private partners to construct new modules for the International Space Station for commercial use as well as proposals for commercial uses of low Earth orbit. The witness panel for this hearing hasn’t been announced yet.
House Committee on Homeland Security
At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 310 Cannon House Office Building.
In mid-June, Democratic members of the House Homeland Security Committee sent a letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan in which they ask the secretary to describe the laws that authorize Customs and Border Patrol to use facial recognition and other biometric technologies on U.S. citizens at American airports. The witness panel for this hearing will include John Wagner, Deputy Executive Assistant Commissioner, Office of Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Austin Gould, Assistant Administrator, Requirements and Capabilities Analysis, Transportation Security Administration, U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Joseph Di Petro, Chief Technology Officer, United States Secret Service; and Dr. Charles Romine, Director, Information Technology Laboratory, National Institute of Standards and Technology, U.S. Department of Commerce.
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
At 10:00 AM on Wednesday at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, 1101 K St. N.W., Suite 610A, Washington, D.C., 20005.
The Trump Administration has followed through on several measures meant to punish China for its theft of American intellectual property, which has severely harmed U.S. corporations, but many have questioned whether the United States has the moral standing to take up this fight given its subsidization of domestic industries, among other reasons. This event will feature a discussion panel including Robert Atkinson, President, ITIF; Dean Baker, Senior Economist, Center for Economic and Policy Research; Jared Bernstein, Senior Fellow, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; and Thea Lee, President, Economic Policy Institute. The panel will be moderated by Don Lee, Economics Reporter, LA Times.
Coons and Stivers to Reintroduce STRONGER Patents Act
At 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, S-207, The Mansfield Room, U.S. Capitol Building
U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and U.S. Representative Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) will reintroduce the STRONGER Patents Act in both the Senate and House of Representatives during a bipartisan, bicameral event that will include “other bill co-sponsors, inventors, university representatives, and tech industry supporters of the legislation.” Media contacts for the event expect it will be streamed live, although there was no link available at the time of publication.
Thursday, July 11
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
At 10:00 AM on Thursday at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.
Politicians in Washington D.C. have increasingly called for the breaking up of major American tech companies despite the consumer welfare standard for antitrust policy which instructs regulators to curb their actions unless a company is increasing prices or harming innovation. This event, which will explore the current U.S. antitrust regime and any changes that should be made regarding today’s tech giants, will feature a panel including Seth Bloom, President and Founder, Bloom Strategic Counsel; Jason Oxman, President and CEO, Information Technology Industry Council; Alec Stapp, Research Fellow, International Center for Law and Economics; and Thibault Schrepel, Faculty Affiliate, Berkman Center, Harvard University. The panel will be moderated by Robert Atkinson, President, ITIF.
The Brookings Institution
At 10:00 AM on Thursday at the Saul/Zilkha Auditorium, Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C., 20036.
This event, co-hosted by the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute, will discuss issues in the trade war between the U.S. and China, including Chinese efforts to acquire U.S. technology, and assess the strategies employed by the U.S. to combat technological theft. The event begins with a presentation from Joshua Meltzer, Senior Fellow, Global Economy and Development. Following the presentation, Meltzer will moderate a discussion panel including Robert Atkinson, Former Brookings Expert and President, ITIF; Paul Triolo, Practice Head, Geo-technology, Eurasia Group; and Derek Scissors, Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute. Along with Meltzer, this panel will be moderated by Neena Shenai, Visiting Scholar, American Enterprise Institute.
House Subcommittee on Research and Technology
At 2:00 PM on Thursday in 2318 Rayburn.
At a June hearing of the Senate Commerce Committee, Senators from both sides of the political aisle discussed the impacts that automated vehicles could have on improving mobility and safety across the American surface transportation system. The witness panel for this hearing hasn’t been announced yet.
Friday, July 12
House Subcommittee on Energy
At 9:30 AM on Friday in 2123 Rayburn.
On June 27, the Senate passed the Securing Energy Infrastructure Act, a legislative measure designed to remove cybersecurity vulnerabilities from the U.S. energy grid by replacing automated systems within the grid with low-tech redundancies such as analog equipment and procedures controlled by human operators. The witness panel for this hearing hasn’t been announced yet.