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Fact Sheet: Positive Train Control Extension

Legislation to Keep America’s Railroads Open

Addressing an unattainable December 31, 2015, deadline for implementation of Positive Train Control (PTC) technology, on October 29, 2015, President Barack Obama signed into law bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3819) extending the deadline to avert a railroad service shutdown and provide for the orderly implementation of the new safety requirement. The provision signed into law incorporated input from multiple proposals extending the deadline for PTC offered by the U.S. Senate, House of Representatives, and the Obama Administration in its GROW AMERICA Act proposal.

What is Positive Train Control (PTC)?

PTC is advanced technology designed to stop or slow a train before accidents occur. Specifically, the technology may help prevent:

• Accidents caused by excessive speeds

• Train-on-train collisions

• Some situations where trains are routed to incorrect tracks

In late 2008, Congress mandated installation of PTC on certain lines carrying passengers or toxic-by-inhalation (TIH) chemicals by December 31, 2015. PTC involves extensive first-generation components and communications equipment that must be installed on BOTH locomotives (over 20,000 units) and along certain rail track (over 60,000 miles).


Why did Congress revisit the PTC after mandating it?

If railroads did not meet the previous December 31, 2015, deadline the law would have forced them to decide between stopping service and operating in violation of the law.  For multiple reasons including insurance coverage, exposure to tort or other commercial liability, and laws that protect railroad workers from knowingly violating federal safety laws, multiple railroads had stated that they would have had to suspend freight rail and/or passenger rail service without an extension to the PTC implementation deadline. 

The chairman of the federal Surface Transportation Board acknowledged that complex common carrier laws and regulations requiring railroads to carry certain cargos and allowing passenger trains on tracks might not apply without a change in law.

Multiple reviews, including one in September 2015 from the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) determined that the December 31, 2015, deadline for nationwide implementation was not realistic. No railroad managed to meet the legal requirements for complying with the PTC mandate by the old deadline.

Some delays in meeting the old deadline actually came from federal agencies. Full implementation requires installation of about 35,000 wayside interface units and 25,000 poles to transmit PTC signals, and in May 2013 the Federal Communications Commission halted construction of these structures for over a year until the agency could developed a process to review potential historic preservation and tribal impacts. In another instance, the Federal Railroad Administration took seven months to review a safety plan submitted by a railroad.

Most delays, however, were attributable to the fact that PTC is a complex and new technology.  PTC systems required railroads to develop new components and conduct multiple phases of testing – first in a laboratory environment and then in the field – before installation across the network.


What did Congress do to prevent service disruptions while moving PTC installation forward?

Several different proposals were offered to extend the deadline for PTC, including one authored by the Obama Administration in Section 9402 of its GROW AMERICA Act transportation proposal.

On July 30, 2015, the U.S. Senate approved the DRIVE Act on a bipartisan vote of 65-34. The DRIVE Act is a significant bill creating forward looking policies for building transportation infrastructure and improving safety. The DRIVE Act included a PTC extension provision (Section 35442), passed by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee.

The proposal was specifically designed to maintain the need for railroads to install and activate PTC systems as soon as safely possible while recognizing that review by regulators after installation, which is necessary to achieve legal certification of full PTC implementation, will take additional time.

On October 20, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure released new legislative language in a broader transportation reauthorization bill that blended the Senate-passed PTC extension with a previously introduced House proposal that also extended the PTC deadline. The new language, which became law on October 29, 2015, extended the PTC deadline until December 31, 2018, with the possibility of an additional two years to ensure the system works as intended. Only railroads that have completed installation, applicable employee training, and spectrum acquisition by 2018 are eligible for the additional two years. The legislation also expanded accountability measures to ensure progress toward full implementation by requiring annual benchmarks and authorizing regulators to take punitive actions against railroads that miss them.

Click here for a fact sheet on the bill.


So work on the PTC extension is virtually complete?

Yes, but efforts to oversee the successful implementation of PTC on major railroads will continue until PTC is fully implemented and operational where required.

Letters on anticipated impacts if Congress had failed to extend the PTC deadline:

Officials Urge Deadline Extension to Keep Railroads Open:

43 Senators Urge Deadline Extension to Keep Railroads Open:

"Railroads play a vital role in our nation's economy. We cannot afford a disruption of rail service, which could occur if Congress does not extend this deadline."

The United States Conference of Mayors:

"(G)iven that PTC will not be fully implemented and tested, and railroad employees will not be fully trained by the end of the year, we urge every member of Congress to support your legislation."

American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials:

"(M)ost of the trains operating intercity passenger rail service on behalf of state-supported and long-distance corridors will not be compliant by the December 31, 2015, deadline due to operations over other host railroad track."

Delaware State Senate

Freight railroads:

Union Pacific

BNSF

CSX

Norfolk Southern

Canadian National

Canadian Pacific

Kansas City Southern

American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association (ASLRRA)


Passenger railroads:

Amtrak

Metropolitan Transportation Authority - Metro-North Railroad and Long Island Rail Road (New York, N.Y.)

Metra (Chicago, Ill.)

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (Boston, Mass.)

Port Authority Trans-Hudson (N.Y./N.J.)

Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Philadelphia, Pa.)

Virginia Railway Express (Washington, D.C)

Alaska Railroad (Anchorage, Alaska)

Music City Star (Nashville, Tenn.)

Trinity Railway Express (Dallas-Fort Worth area)

Denton County Transportation Authority - A-Train (Dallas-Fort Worth area)

Capital Metro (Austin, Texas)

New Mexico Rail Runner Express (Albuquerque, N.M.)

Frontrunner (Salt Lake City, Utah)

North County Transit District - COASTER (San Diego County, Calif.)

Metrolink (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Altamont Corridor Express (Silicon Valley, Calif.)

Trimet - Westside Express Service (Portland, Ore.)

Sound Transit (Seattle, Wash.)

Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District - South Shore Line (Chicago, Ill. And Gary, Ind.)

Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)


Rail Shippers, Customers, and Labor Organizations
 

American farmers, manufacturers, retailers, energy providers, & customers:

"Without a solution from Congress in the next few weeks, the impact on our members and the broader economy will grow every day. A recent economic analysis by the American Chemistry Council calculated that a one month shutdown will pull $30 billion out of the economy with a loss of 700,000 jobs."

National Industrial Transportation League (NITL):

"As a practical matter, the resolution of this problem cannot wait until December. The Congress has an opportunity now to prevent this disaster."

Water Utilities:

"Because virtually all U.S. railroads will not be ready to fully implement PTC on that date, water utilities across the country could face severe interruptions of the supplies of substances they use to treat municipal drinking water and wastewater. Even a temporary interruption of water disinfection chemical deliveries could risk a public health disaster for communities across the country."

Agriculture Transportation Working Group:

"In order to prevent a disruption in the supply of necessary fertilizers, crop inputs and rail cars for transporting freight, an extension on the implementation of PTC is necessary. The inability to move anhydrous ammonia by rail after the December 31, 2015 PTC deadline would cause fertilizer manufacturing facilities to curtail production, leaving farmers without enough fertilizer to use during the narrow planting seasons across the country."

Joint Trade Association Letter (Retailers and Manufacturers):

"A shutdown of large segments of the nation’s freight rail network would have catastrophic consequences.  As rail customers, we rely on railroads to deliver coal, farm products, automobiles, chemicals, building materials, retail consumer goods and many other essential products. A major disruption of freight service would have cascading impacts on the nation’s food, energy and water supplies, as well as transportation, construction and nearly every sector of the U.S. economy."

Chemical Shippers - Rail Customer Coalition (RCC):

"We are very concerned that we will be unable to ship and receive these chemicals by rail once the deadline passes at the end of this year. More than 96 percent of all manufactured goods are directly touched by chemistry, including TIH chemicals such as chlorine, anhydrous ammonia, ethylene oxide, and hydrogen fluoride. Just about every corner of our economy relies on these chemicals, including health care, farming, manufacturing, renewable energy production, construction, and water treatment."

Freight Rail Customer Alliance (FRCA):

"Such an outcome would result in chaos for the nation’s transportation system and for various industrial and agricultural sectors. Numerous commodities, such as coal and grain, can only be shipped by rail, especially from certain areas of our country and/or over long distances. This disruption of rail service will have a dramatic impact on freight shippers and the customers they serve, let alone negatively affecting our nation’s economy."

SMART Transportation Division and Transportation Communications Union Joint Letter:

"Such decisions will cause significant disruptions in our nation’s rail network and put thousands of hardworking men and women in the rail industry, including our members, out of work through no fault of their own."

American Farmer, Manufacturers, Retailers, Energy Providers, and Other Freight Rail Customers:

"A shutdown of large segments of the nation's freight rail network would have broad and long lasting consequences. As rail customers, we rely on railroads to deliver farm products, automobiles, coal, heating oil, propane, road salt, chemicals, consumer goods, building materials and many other essential products. A major disruption of freight service would have cascading impacts on food, energy and water supplies, as well as transportation, construction and nearly every sector of the U.S. economy."

Telecommunications Industry Association:

"We are concerned about the negative impact interrupted rail service will have on the ability to efficiently sustain supply chain operations in certain aspects of the telecommunications marketplace, which is a major contributor of growth to the U.S. economy."

The Fertilizer Industry

Fertilizer Manufacturers and Agriculture Groups

CF Industries (manufacturer of anhydrous ammonia)

Agriculture Producers and Agribusiness Urge Members of Congress to Keep Railroads Open

South Dakota Association of Cooperatives

Nevada Mining Association

Texas Department of Agriculture

South Dakota Department of Agriculture

New Jersey Chamber of Commerce

Delaware Healthcare Association

Delaware Chamber of Commerce

Pennsylvania Chemical Industry Council

Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Connecticut Department of Transportation

American Public Transportation Association (APTA)

States for Passenger Rail Coalition

New Jersey Business & Industry Association

Connecticut farmers, manufacturers, retailers, groups, & customers


Need for a PTC extension highlighted in the media:

New York Times editorial: Congress should extend rail safety deadline with safeguards

McClatchy: Norfolk Southern says it will stop hauling key chemicals on Dec. 1

Reuters: Safety deadline may exempt U.S. railroads from freight obligations

McClatchy: Rail service crisis looms ahead of safety law deadline

New York Times: Panel urges more time on train safety technology

Chicago Sun-Times editorial: Congress should extend the deadline to give Metra and other railroads a chance to get the job done

Washington Post editorial: Congress should revise the 2008 legislation to give railroads more time to come into compliance

Los Angeles Times editorial: Positive train control must wait, but the wait shouldn't be too long


Committee sources:

June 10, 2015, hearing – Passenger Rail Safety: Accident Prevention and On-Going Efforts to Implement Train Control Technology

September 17, 2015 – Federal Railroad Administration Nomination Hearing

July 29, 2015 – Chairman Thune floor speech: Thune: Rail Passengers Deserve Critical Safety and Infrastructure Improvements

 

1/20/16 -- Update: Reflecting PTC extension enactment

Nomination Hearing -- T.F. Scott Darling, III to be the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

The pending nominee to the be the next administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will provide testimony at a U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation confirmation hearing on Wednesday, January 20th at 10:00 a.m.

T.F. Scott Darling, III, currently serves as the acting administrator of FMCSA. President Obama formally nominated him to be administrator on August 5, 2015. Mr. Darling’s nomination questionnaire is available here.

Witness:
 
T.F. Scott Darling, III, to be the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Hearing Details:
 
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
10:00 a.m.
 
Full Committee hearing
 
This hearing will take place in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

For reporters interested in reserving a seat, please contact the press gallery:

• Periodical Press Gallery – 202-224-0265

• Radio/Television Gallery – 202-224-6421

• Press Photographers Gallery – 202-224-6548

• Daily Press Gallery – 202-224-0241

Individuals with disabilities who require an auxiliary aid or service, including closed captioning service for the webcast hearing, should contact Stephanie Gamache at 202-224-5511 at least three business days in advance of the hearing date.

Senator Deb Fischer - Full Committee Hearing

Good morning. I want to welcome everyone to this Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing. It is an honor to chair this committee’s first hearing of the new year, and I’d like to thank Chairman Thune and the members of the Commerce Committee for this opportunity.

The purpose of today’s hearing is to consider the nomination of Mr. T.F. Scott Darling III to serve as administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). 

After serving as the FMCSA’s chief counsel for three years, Mr. Darling was nominated for this position by President Obama on August 5, 2015. Mr. Darling is from Boston, where he earned his law degree from Suffolk University and worked at the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority.

Congress established the FMCSA in 2000. As I have stated previously, the FMCSA is an important agency within the Department of Transportation, tasked with a critical mission of ensuring the safety of commercial vehicles on our nation’s highways. 

Unfortunately, some of the FMCSA’s actions over the past several years have challenged our shared goal of enhancing highway safety.

In 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigated the methodology behind the FMCSA’s Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) program. The GAO found that inaccurate CSA scores, which are publically available online, have cost companies contracts and raised insurance rates. All of this has occurred without a clear correlation to increasing highway safety. For example, as I previously mentioned before this committee, a bridge in Ohio collapsed onto a commercial truck in 2014. Under the CSA program, this negatively affected the carrier’s safety score. Yet, it’s clear that this incident was not the fault of the commercial driver. 

When confronted with these findings, the FMCSA completely disregarded the GAO’s recommendations. To address flaws in CSA implementation, major stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, requested that the FMCSA remove CSA scores from public view. 

As chairman of the Surface Transportation Subcommittee, I was pleased to play a strong role in drafting, negotiating, and supporting the final highway bill that the Senate passed in December – known as the FAST Act. 

I worked closely with this committee to include key reforms to the FMCSA’s regulatory process in the FAST Act. These reforms ensure the agency will conduct a more robust cost-benefit analysis, review outdated guidance, and encourage more transparency and public participation in the rule-making process. I am eager to see these reforms implemented to increase confidence in the FMCSA’s rulemaking process moving forward.

In addition, the FAST Act includes a pilot program that I advocated for. This program offers our nation’s veterans the opportunity to begin a career as a commercial driving professional at an earlier age. I firmly believe this common-sense program can help begin addressing our nation’s severe driver shortage. At the same time, the pilot program will also provide more career opportunities for veterans who already hold a commercial driver’s license as a result of their time in the military. 

The highway bill also included provisions to address flaws in the CSA program. It does so by requiring the FMCSA to remove inaccurate safety scores for commercial carriers, address and certify that the program’s methodology is sound, and provide carriers with options to appeal crash-related data. The CSA program’s reforms will help address at-fault crashes that are inaccurately assigned to carriers.   

I want to commend the FMCSA for immediately taking the flawed CSA scores down from public view as soon as the president signed the FAST Act into law.

Just this past week, the FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rule-making for its Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule, which will change the way carriers are rated for operating. Previously, the FMCSA divided carriers into three tiers: “satisfactory,” “conditional,” and “unsatisfactory.” Under the SFD rule, the FMCSA will now designate carriers as either “fit” or “unfit” to operate by utilizing inspections, crash reporting data, and investigation results. This will help increase inspections and the enforcement of safety regulations. Some, however, have expressed concerns regarding the FMCSA’s use of potentially flawed CSA data as part of a carrier’s safety fitness determination methodology.  Certain stakeholders have argued, inaccurate data could lead to rating unfit carriers as qualified to operate, or vice versa.

I look forward to hearing how the FMCSA will address concerns with the SFD proposed rule.

Again, thank you for being here today. I would now like to invite Senator Booker, who is serving as today’s ranking member, to offer his opening remarks.

High Court’s Cert Denial Should Put an End to Novel Anti-Preemption Claim in Medical Device Suits

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 01/20/2016 - 9:17am
Guest Commentary by Matthew A. Reed, Sedgwick LLP When plaintiffs bring state tort causes of action against the manufacturers of medical devices that have passed the Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA”) rigorous pre-market approval (“PMA”) process, they enter a realm highly regulated by the federal government, and thus face a daunting task to avoid dismissal […]
Categories: Latest News

Walberg Statement on Labor Department’s Joint Employer “Guidance”

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 01/20/2016 - 12:00am

Workforce Protections Subcommittee Chairman Tim Walberg (R-MI) issued the following statement today in response to enforcement changes announced by the Department of Labor's (DOL) Wage and Hour Division:

Once again the administration is pushing regulatory policies that will harm the workers and job creators they claim they want to help. This is part of a larger effort that will threaten the livelihoods of small business owners and destroy opportunities for workers and entrepreneurs to succeed in today's economy. Every day countless individuals are working to start their own businesses and shape an innovative 21st century workforce, and the president and his allies insist on imposing outdated policies that will hold them back. Adding insult to injury, the administration denied the very men and women impacted by this new regulatory scheme a chance to voice their views and concerns. We need to focus on solutions that will create – not destroy – opportunities for working families to achieve the success they deserve. 

BACKGROUND: In recent years, the Obama administration has made a concerted effort to redefine what it means to be an employer. Discarding years of settled labor policy, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision in August 2015 that expanded the definition of employer to include those who have "indirect" or even "potential" control over practically any employment decision. This followed a decision by NLRB General Counsel Richard Griffin who determined McDonald's Inc. was a joint employer with various franchises.

Also in August 2015, news reports revealed a draft memorandum to expand joint employer liability for workplace safety and health violations. The committee wrote to Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez in October 2015 to request information on this proposed change to health and safety enforcement. In a written response on November 18, 2015, the department denied any new enforcement guidance had been created and stated the "Department did not coordinate with the [NLRB]" in preparing the draft memorandum. 

However, on January 13, 2016, the committee received new information which calls into question the veracity of the department's previous assurances, including emails between department and NLRB officials expressing a desire to "compare notes" on joint employer policies. The committee has since renewed its request for all documents, communications, and information related to this matter. The full letter and more information on the committee's oversight are available here.

# # #

Save the date!

WCOE News - Tue, 01/19/2016 - 6:11pm

WCOE has announced the annual leadership conference will be held in Washington DC at the Willard Hotel April 3 to 5, 2016. The event will host women from across the nation for networking, speakers and special events including visits to Capitol Hill. Conference details will be available soon.

Categories: Latest News

Save the date!

WCOE News - Tue, 01/19/2016 - 6:11pm

WCOE has announced the annual leadership conference will be held in Washington DC at the Willard Hotel April 3 to 5, 2016. The event will host women from across the nation for networking, speakers and special events including visits to Capitol Hill. Conference details will be available soon.

Categories: Latest News

Imperfect Pleading v. Limits on Invalidation Authority: Federal Circuit Attempts to Clarify the Scope of Judicial Review

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 01/15/2016 - 11:51am
Guest Commentary By Jon E. Wright & Pauline M. Pelletier, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox* A hot topic in post-grant proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) is whether determinations made by the PTAB at the institution stage are reviewable on appeal by the Federal Circuit. In SightSound Techs., LLC v. Apple Inc., […]
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GSA Unveils $51,000 Computer Donation to Martin Luther King, Jr, Middle School

GSA news releases - Fri, 01/15/2016 - 12:00am
GSA Administrator to Lead Economic Development Conversation in Atlanta

Lawmaker Wants New Search for El Faro Data Recorder

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) today asked the head of the federal agency investigating the loss of the cargo ship El Faro to conduct another search for the ship’s missing data recorder.

Nelson made the request in a letter sent today to the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board, Christopher Hart. 

“It is critical that we determine the cause of the El Faro sinking to prevent tragedies like this from happening again,” Nelson wrote. “I urge you to strongly consider another search to locate the missing recorder.”

The cargo ship El Faro sank on Oct. 1, 2015 while en route from Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. Investigators located the ship’s wreckage near the Bahamas in early November but were unable to locate the ship’s data recorder, eventually calling off the search two weeks later.  

Nelson, the top Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee which oversees the NTSB, met with investigators back in October and asked that they include in their investigation of the shipping accident a review of the shipping company’s policies for sailing in severe weather.

Following is the text of Nelson’s letter to the NTSB:

 

January 14, 2016

The Honorable Christopher Hart                                                     

Chairman                                                                                                                    

National Transportation Safety Board                                           

490 L’Enfant Plaza SW                                                                          

Washington, D.C. 20594                                                                      

Dear Chairman Hart:

It is critical that we determine the cause of the El Faro sinking to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. To assist in this endeavor, I urge you to take every step possible to recover the missing voyage data recorder. 

On Tuesday, September 29th, the container ship El Faro left Jacksonville, Florida en route to San Juan, Puerto Rico. In a distress call two days later, El Faro reported that it had lost propulsion, was listing and had taken on water. The NTSB launched an initial search to locate the ship, document the wreckage and recover the voyage data recorder. Unfortunately, the NTSB was unable to recover the voyage data recorder.

While I have faith in your ability to complete this investigation with the information you have gathered, it is important to ensure the most complete investigation possible. I urge you to strongly consider another search to locate the missing recorder. 

Sincerely,

 Bill Nelson

Thune Urges Administration to Work with Congress on Automated Vehicles

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today urged the Obama administration to work collaboratively with Congress to promote initiatives accelerating vehicle automation and safety innovations. He also indicated that the committee will hold a hearing early this year.

Commerce Announces Federal Motor Carrier Safety Nomination Hearing

The pending nominee to the be the next administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will provide testimony at a U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation confirmation hearing on Wednesday, January 20th at 10:00 a.m.

T.F. Scott Darling, III, currently serves as the acting administrator of FMCSA. President Obama formally nominated him to be administrator on August 5, 2015. Mr. Darling’s nomination questionnaire is available here.

Witness:
 
T.F. Scott Darling, III, to be the Administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Hearing Details:
 
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
10:00 a.m.
 
Full Committee hearing
 
This hearing will take place in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

GSA Administrator, SBA Administrator, and Mayor of Atlanta Discuss Economic Development in Atlanta

GSA news releases - Thu, 01/14/2016 - 12:00am
GSA Administrator to Lead Economic Development Conversation in Atlanta

New Federal Procedural Rules May Deter Filing of Baseless Patent Lawsuits

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 4:21pm
Featured Expert Contributor – Intellectual Property (Patents) Jeffri A. Kaminski, Venable LLP For years, defendants in patent infringement cases have protested the ease with which patent plaintiffs could file complaints. Since 1938, Form 18—a model form in an appendix of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP)—set the pleading standard that courts in patent cases […]
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Mark Up: H.R. 4341: “Defending America’s Small Contractors Act of 2016

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 10:00am
Chairman Steve Chabot has scheduled a markup on legislation to strengthen the small business industrial base. The Committee will mark up: H.R. 4341, “Defending America’s Small Contractors Act of 2016.” The markup is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building

Markup Notice
H.R. 4341, “Defending America’s Small Contractors Act of 2016"

Small Business Committee Approves Defending America’s Small Contractors Act

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 01/13/2016 - 12:00am

First Committee Markup of 2016

Bipartisan Legislation Advances to U.S. House

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House Committee on Small Business today approved bipartisan legislation to expand and improve opportunties for America’s small firms to compete for federal contracts. The measure, H.R. 4341, the Defending America’s Small Contractors Act of 2016, was approved unanimously by the panel and now advances to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

“As a Committee, we’ve worked tirelessly to ensure that federal contracts are awarded appropriately to small businesses in order to maximize competition, create jobs and foster innovation,” said Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “This bipartisan, common-sense legislation will allow America’s small businesses new and improved opportunities to provide value and quality to the taxpayer.”

Specifically, the Defending America’s Small Contractors Act of 2016:

  • Modernizes the Small Business Act, and the SBA’s reporting requirements, to ensure that the language used is clear and consistent across federal procurement programs.
  • Strengthens the small business advocates within SBA and other federal agencies so they can promote competition and compliance.
  • Improves opportunities for small businesses to compete for subcontracts, and then to capitalize on that experience to compete as prime contractors, thereby strengthening the industrial base.
  • Improves coordination and data sharing between the SBA’s government-wide mentor-protégé program, civilian agency mentor-protégé programs, and the mentor-protégé program at the Department of Defense.
  • Implements common sense reforms to ensuring integrity in small business programs, such as the agricultural size standards, veterans contracting programs, SBA operations and contracting officer training programs.

The measure was informed by the Committee’s ongoing efforts to improve contracting opportunities for small businesses across all federal agencies. Chairman Chabot noted that the first Committee markup of 2015 was also on contracting reform legislation and almost all of those provisions have since become law.

You can view the full Committee markup HERE

Oversight of the Office of Innovation and Investment at the SBA

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 01/12/2016 - 3:00pm
Subcommittee Hearing

The Subcommittee on Health and Technology will meet for a hearing titled, “Oversight of the Office of Investment and Innovation at the SBA.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 3:00 P.M. on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. 

Witnesses

Mr. Mark Walsh
Associate Administrator Office of Investment and Innovation
United States Small Business Administration
Washington, DC

Accompanied by:

Mr. John Williams
Director,Innovation and Technology
Office of Investment and Innovation
United States Small Business Administration
Washington, DC

Ms. Carol Fendler
Director Licensing and Programming Standards
Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program Office of Investment and Innovation
United States Small Business Administration
Washington, DC

Hearing Materials
Hearing Memo
Hearing Notice
Witness List

Copyright

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