This Week in D.C.: Competition in Digital Tech Markets, NIH Medical Research Funding and Clean Industrial Innovation

This week in the U.S. capital, the Senate will hold committee hearings on antitrust issues in digital platforms and real-time payment systems, a sector of fintech that will also be explored by the House Task Force on Financial Technology. Elsewhere in the House of Representatives, there will be hearings on Veterans’ Affairs scheduling technology, clean industrial innovations and medical research funding at the NIH. The week kicks off at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation with a look at small business innovation funding programs. The Brookings Institution will also host events on Army modernization efforts and issues in disaggregating health data for improved policy-making.

Tuesday, September 24

The Brookings Institution

How Is the Army Modernizing?

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in Falk Auditorium, Brookings Institution, 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20036.

Technologies in the developing artificial intelligence and hypersonics sectors have various applications in warfare and military combat but the U.S. Army’s modernization efforts must define both the future operating environment and force structure the Army will need to incorporate these innovations. This event will explore the Army’s modernization efforts, featuring a discussion with Lieutenant General Eric Wesley, Deputy Commanding General of Army Futures Command, moderated by Michael O’Hanlon, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, and Director of Research, Foreign Policy, the Sydney Stein, Jr. Chair.

Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights

Competition in Digital Technology Markets: Examining Acquisitions of Nascent or Potential Competitors by Digital Platforms 

At 2:30 PM on Tuesday in 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.

In early September, Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), respectively the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Antitrust Subcommittee, announced that they would hold this hearing to examine concerns about reduced competition caused by the acquisition of small Internet services startups by large technology corporations. The witness panel for this hearing will include Bruce Hoffman, Director of the Bureau of Competition, Federal Trade Commission; Dr. Diana Moss, President, American Antitrust Institute; Professor John Yun, Director, Economic Education at the Global Antitrust Institute, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; and Patricia Nakache, General Partner, Trinity Ventures.

Wednesday, September 25

Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources

Business Meeting to Consider Pending Legislation

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 366 Dirksen.

On Wednesday morning, the Senate Energy Committee will convene a business meeting to consider 21 pieces of proposed legislation include several that involve technology and innovation. These include H.R. 1420, the Energy Efficient Government Technology Act; S. 2095, the Enhancing Grid Security Through Public-Private Partnerships Act; S. 2300, the Clean Industrial Technology (CIT) Act; and S. 2335, the Smart Building Acceleration Act of 2019.

Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs

Facilitating Faster Payments in the U.S.

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 538 Dirksen.

Real-time payment platforms involve the use of financial data and communications technologies that supports instantaneous clearing and settlement of payments. On September 19, global fintech firm FIS published research showing that the number of countries using real-time payment platforms has increased four-fold since 2014 up to 54 countries having active systems. The witness panel for this hearing is Esther George, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City; Robert Hunter, Executive Managing Director and Deputy General Counsel, The Clearing House; George Selgin, Senior Fellow and Director, CATO Institute; Bob Steen, President and CEO, Bridge Community Bank; and the Honorable Sheila Bair, Former Chair, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

House Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies

Investments in Medical Research at Five Institutes and Centers of the National Institutes of Health

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2358-C Rayburn House Office Building.

Every year, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) receive billions in federal funding which it invests in various areas of medical research. Recently, the Senate Committee on Appropriations released a proposed NIH budget for the 2020 fiscal year that would increase the research agency’s budget by 7.7 percent up to $42.1 billion, including $350 million earmarked for Alzheimer’s research. The witness panel at this hearing will include Francis Collins M.D., Ph.D., Director, NIH; Bruce Tromberg Ph.D, Director, National Institutes of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering; Eliseo Perez-Stable M.D., Director, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; Helene Langevin M.D., Director, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health; Christopher Austin M.D., Director, National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences; and Patricia Brennan R.N., Ph.D, Director, National Library of Medicine.

House Committee on Homeland Security

Legislative Markup Meeting

At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 310 Cannon House Office Building.

On Wednesday morning, the House Homeland Security Committee will meet to markup a series of bills including the National Commission on Online Platforms and Homeland Security Act; H.R. 4432, the Protecting Critical Infrastructure Against Drones and Emerging Threats Act; and H.R. 1975, the Cybersecurity Advisory Committee Authorization Act of 2019.

Thursday, September 26

Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

How to Improve Support for Small Business Innovation, Research, and Technology

At 9:30 on Thursday in SVC-215 Capitol Visitor Center.

In 2018, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs distributed more than $3.1 billion to almost 3,600 entities to support technology development and commercialization. This event will explore the future of these programs and ways they can be improved to support a greater degree of small business innovation. A report on the future of SBIR/STTR will be presented by Robert Rozansky, Senior Policy Analyst, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. The event will feature a discussion with a panel including Renée Bender, Senior Professional Staff Member, Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship; Doug Rand, Senior Fellow and Director of the Technology and Innovation Initiative, Federation of American Scientists; and Meagan Sunn, Tech and Telecom Counsel, House Committee on Small Business. The panel discussion will be moderated by David Hart, Senior Fellow, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

The Brookings Institution

Data Disaggregation as a Means to Improved Health Research and Policy-Making

At 9:30 AM on Thursday in Falk Auditorium, Brookings Institution.

Data analysis to address disparities in health outcomes among different socioeconomic groups can help improve policy making in the sector. This all-day event will explore how data disaggregation can help improve empirical data for populations of interest. An introduction will be given by William Frey, Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program. Following that will be a panel discussion on critical needs for data disaggregation for race and ethnic groups. That first panel will include John Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice; Ana Gonzalez-Barrera, Senior Research, Pew Research Center; Yvette Robideaux, Vice President for Research and Director, Policy Research Center, National Congress of American Indians; and the discussion will be moderated by Randall Akee, David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Economic Studies, Center on Children and Families, Future of the Middle Class Initiative. Following the panel discussion will be an academic session analyzing a trio of papers on data disaggregation. A second panel discussion on issues and challenges in data collection and access will include Ninez Ponce, Director, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, UCLA; Meagan Khan, Director, Data and Policy Analytics Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Makada Henry-Nickie, David M. Rubenstein Fellow, Governance Studies, Race, Prosperity, and Inclusion Initiative; and the second panel will be moderated by Emilia Simeonova, Associate Professor, Johns Hopkins Business School. Concluding remarks will be given by Richard Reeves, John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Chair, Senior Fellow, Economic Studies, Director, Future of the Middle Class Initiative, and Co-Director, Center on Children and Families.

Senate Committee on the Judiciary

Executive Business Meeting

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 226 Dirksen.

On Thursday morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold an executive business meeting to consider eight judicial nominations and a pair of proposed bills. The judicial nominations include one Circuit Court nomination: Halil Suleyman Ozerden, nominated for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. The committee will also discuss S. 2281, the Inventor Diversity for Economic Advancement Act of 2019, which would create a system for voluntarily collecting demographic data from inventors filing patent applications at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

House Subcommittee on Technology Modernization 

The Future of VA Scheduling: Implementing a Commercial Off the Shelf Scheduling Solution at the Department of Veterans Affairs

At 10:00 AM on Thursday in 210 House Visitors Center.

The Department of Veterans’ Affairs has been looking to replace its scheduling system with a commercial off-the-shelf solution since 2000, when the agency determined that it needed to replace its aging Veterans Information Systems and Technology Architecture (VistA) scheduling system. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

House Task Force on Financial Technology 

The Future of Real-Time Payments

At 2:00 PM on Thursday in 2128 Rayburn.

This House Financial Technology Task Force hearing is the counterpart to the earlier Senate Banking Subcommittee hearing on real-time payment systems. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis

Solving the Climate Crisis: Reducing Industrial Emissions Through U.S. Innovation

At 2:00 PM on Thursday in 2318 Rayburn.

This summer, the Clean Industrial Technology Act was introduced into both houses of Congress. The bill would create an advisory council to coordinate funding for developing industrial processes technologies that would reduce emissions. Last week, a representative of the National Association of Manufacturers testified in front of the House Subcommittee on Environmental and Climate Change that manufacturing industries would work to reduce carbon emissions if Congress could pass laws that incentivize tech innovation in that area. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.

Friday, September 27

House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology

Legislating to Secure America’s Wireless Future

At 9:30 AM on Friday in 2123 Rayburn.

This hearing will focus on security issues in the supply chain for 5G technologies as well as concerns about managing wireless spectrum resources. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.


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