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Barletta Statement: Debate on H.R. 4843, the Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act

Education & the Workforce Committee - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 4:00pm
Every 25 minutes in America, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal. It’s an eye-opening statistic, and the more you consider what it really means, the more tragic it becomes. Every 25 minutes, a child enters the world having already been exposed to drugs. Every 25 minutes, a newborn has to pay the price for something he or she was defenseless against. Every 25 minutes, another infant becomes a victim of the national opioid crisis.

These are the victims the Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act will help protect.

Federal policies—including the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, or CAPTA—have long supported state efforts to identify, assess, and treat children who are victims of abuse and neglect.

The law provides states with resources to improve their child protective services systems if they assure the Department of Health and Human Services that they have put in place certain child welfare policies. For example, requiring health care providers to notify child protective services agencies when a child is born with prenatal illegal substance exposure and requiring the development of something known as a “safe care plan” to keep these newborns and their caregivers healthy and safe.

Last year, a Reuters investigation examined the care infants receive when they are born to parents struggling with opioid addiction. The investigation detailed the heartbreaking consequences those infants had to endure—consequences like suffering through the physical pain of withdrawal, and in the most shocking cases, terrible deaths.

It’s hard to imagine stories like these could be any more tragic. Unfortunately, they are—because they should have, and in many cases, could have been prevented. As Reuters revealed, HHS is providing federal funds to states that do not have the necessary child welfare policies in place. In short: the law is not being properly followed and enforced, and some of our most vulnerable children and families are slipping through the cracks.

That’s why Representative Clark and I worked with a number of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and introduced the legislation before us today. This bill requires HHS to better ensure states are meeting their legal responsibilities when it comes to preventing and responding to child abuse and neglect.

Through a number of commonsense measures, it strengthens protections for infants born with illegal substance exposure, improves accountability related to the care of infants and their families, and ensures states will have best practices for developing plans to keep infants and their caregivers healthy and safe.

As the House works this week to fight the opioid epidemic destroying communities and lives across the country, these are commonsense reforms we should all embrace. By working together and advancing this legislation, we can help ensure these children, mothers, and their families have the help they need and the care they deserve.

NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, Gizmodo, and Others Cover Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune’s Letter to Facebook on “Trending Topics” Bias Allegations

“Consumers have rights and we want to make sure that we’re protecting consumers’ rights and that businesses aren’t, in fact, engaging in any kind of deceptive practice.” Sen. John Thune

<p>"Good morning, I welcome all our

"Good morning, I welcome all our witnesses to today’s hearing, which presents a good opportunity to discuss ways to improve the efforts of the federal government, the private sector, and academia in R&D; STEM education initiatives; and technology transfer of scientific research to commercial applications. 

"The Committee has jurisdiction over important federal science agencies, including the National Science Foundation, or NSF, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, or OSTP, and the Committee has been actively developing legislative proposals to confront the challenges associated with advancing the U.S. Science and Technology Enterprise in our budget environment.  

"The good news is that, among individual countries, the United States is still the largest investor in public and private R&D, comprising 27 percent of the global R&D total in 2013 according to the National Science Board.  But China is catching up, with 20 percent of the global total.

"While we could hope for more resources, tough budget realities underscore the importance of developing policy solutions that maximize our federal investments so we can stay competitive, get the biggest bang for our buck, and leverage even more private sector resources to expand the reach of our R&D.  This Committee has been active on this front.

"Last year, in consultation with Ranking Member Nelson, we established an Innovation and Competitiveness Working Group of the Commerce Committee to inform efforts to craft legislation to reauthorize science and technology R&D policies previously directed under the America COMPETES Acts.  We asked Senators Gardner and Peters to lead this Working Group, and we are appreciative of their sustained efforts over many months to help develop consensus-based policy solutions that could comprise a bipartisan Commerce Committee product.

"The Working Group convened a series of candid, bipartisan discussions to gather input from the U.S. science and research community regarding federal R&D policy priorities.  The roundtable format of these meetings allowed for a free-flowing discussion among key stakeholders. 

"These roundtable meetings focused on the topics of “Maximizing the Impact of Basic Research,” “STEM Education and Workforce Issues,” and “Research Commercialization and Technology Transfer.” 

"We had broad participation by research universities, government advisory bodies, and non-profit research organizations in the informal discussion with Senators.  Members of the public and interested groups were also invited and encouraged to submit input on the topics via email, with over 250 emailed submissions received on these three topics. 

"Common themes arising from the roundtables included support for continued investment by the federal government in basic research, as well as encouragement of wider participation in STEM subjects; stronger partnerships among government, the private sector, and academia that could better leverage discoveries emerging from our research universities to drive innovation; and the importance of minimizing barriers and improving incentives for universities and the private sector to better maximize the scientific and economic return on limited federal research resources.  

"The Committee’s Working Group is developing bipartisan legislation drawing on the input received from the roundtables and stakeholder feedback, related bills introduced by members of the Commerce Committee and others, and policy recommendations made by entities such as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, and the National Academy of Sciences.  We are hopeful the bill will be ready in the coming days.

"Again, I thank the witnesses for being here today and I look forward to hearing about policy ideas that can leverage our science and technology enterprise, such as improved public-private partnerships, reduction of administrative burdens, and improved strategic planning of the federal R&D investment.  

"We have a distinguished list of witnesses from academia, the private sector, and government advisory bodies testifying before the Committee today. 

• "Dr. Droegemeier joins us having just finished his term as Vice Chair of the National Science Board this past Friday. 

• "Dr. Wing has served as Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Research as well as at NSF, and contributed to a recent report published by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences entitled “Restoring the Foundation.” 

• "Dr.  Atkinson’s organization, ITIF, has published numerous recommendations related to tech policy, and both he and Dr. Droegemeier previously participated in our Working Group roundtables on STEM and commercialization. 

• "Finally, Dr. Munson joins us from the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering, where he has helped translate university research into commercial applications, including at his own company, InstaRecon.

"I welcome our distinguished panel and now invite your testimony."

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Learning from the Experts

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 05/11/2016 - 12:00am

Lawmakers Hear from Popular Small Biz Experts

WASHINGTON – Today a panel of well-known entrepreneurs shared their personal stories with Members of Congress about what it takes to start a successful small business and what Washington can do to help aspiring entrepreneurs start, grow and expand their business. Coming days after National Small Business Week, the experts and members of the House Small Business Committee had a spirited discussion on the best ways Washington can empower entrepreneurs. Simplifying the tax code, rolling back unnecessary regulations and improving small business education outreach were key topics of discussion.   

“At the very heart of small business‒ what allows them to succeed‒ are the people; the men and women of this country who set out with an idea and the desire to turn that idea into a reality,” observed House Small Business Committee Steve Chabot (R-OH). “It is this enduring spirit of American innovation that continues to breathe life into our economy and create the jobs no government program can.”

“Each of our witnesses has taken the lessons learned from building their own businesses, and provide guidance to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs. The difference between a good idea and a good business is execution, and who do America’s small businesses turn to for help developing and executing a business plan? They turn to JJ Ramberg, to Ramon Ray, to Susan Solovic, and to Melinda Emerson. And so today, so do we,” said Chairman Chabot in kicking off today’ hearing.  


Let’s think about the husband and wife who start a business together, or a high school graduate working on an invention, or that laid off 50 year-old forced to begin their own business,” said Ramon Ray, the Editor of Smart Hustle Magazine. “The best thing our government can do for small business owners, is to have limited regulation, lower and simplified taxes and continue to invest in the education of small business owners at the local, state and Federal level.”

“Both on and off Main Street, we have heard a common refrain: difficulty finding affordable funding to expand, a challenge around recruiting top notch employees and a sense of loneliness and lack of community to help with business issues,” testified JJ Ramberg, an entrepreneur and the host of MSNBC’s Your Business. “That said, I believe we are in the beginning of a sweeping change when it comes to small business. Companies in the fintech and edtech space are working to address the issues of financing business and educating our workforce.”

“With millennials now making up the largest share of the American workforce and primed to take over an increasing share of small business ownership, much will continue to change when it comes to entrepeneurship,” added Ramberg.

“The regulatory burden in this country is in the trillions of dollars and small businesses pay 36 percent more than larger enterprises,” noted Susan Solovic, THE Small Business Expert and an advocate. “Could small businesses in the U.S. eventually become extinct? In my opinion, if we continue down this path of hyper-regulation, they will certainly become an endangered species. How can we protect this important market sector? As one long-time entrepreneur said to me when I asked what needs to be done: Get out of our business.”

“There are other regulatory challenges that small businesses face that should be reviewed,” said Melinda Emerson, the founder & CEO of Quintessence Group and the Melinda F. Emerson Foundation. “The expanded categorization of who can and cannot be considered a 1099 independent contractor is a challenge for small businesses and the cost of full-time employees is prohibitive to cash-strapped start-ups. The tax code needs to be simplified to help more small business owners; it costs a lot to be in business in the U.S.”

You can read all of the witness testimony here and view full video of today’s hearing here.


Last week, the Small Business Committee celebrated National Small Business Week:

  • Chairman Chabot delivered the Weekly Republican Address outlining the ways the Committee is working to empower America’s 28 million small businesses.
  • Chabot penned an op-ed for The Washington Examiner on the importance of small businesses to the U.S. economy and the men and women who work to make them succeed.  
  • Chabot also stopped by “Mornings with Maria” on Fox Business Network to kick off National Small Business Week with host Maria Bartiromo.
  • Chabot, Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez and Committee members introduced a bipartisan House resolution recognizing the economic contribution of America’s small businesses.  

  • From Main Street to Silicon Valley, the Committee told the story of how America’s small businesses and innovators are changing the way our economy works on Medium. You can read their stories here.

Thune and Gardner Question Excessive Consulting Fees Draining Rural Health Care Telecommunications Funds

“[W]e wish to express our concern that rate-payer dollars dedicated to programs under USAC’s stewardship, such as the Rural Health Care program, are going toward unnecessary or excessive consulting fees rather than their intended purpose – helping rural health care providers gain access to essential telecommunications and broadband services."

Thune Seeks Answers from Facebook on Political Manipulation Allegations

U.S. Senator John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today asked Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg to answer questions following reports that company employees actively suppressed news stories on topics of interest to politically conservative users of the social media platform.

Feds Should Absolutely, Positively Abandon Bizarre Prosecution of FedEx—Overnight

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 05/10/2016 - 11:46am
Last term, in the now-infamous Yates case, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the Department of Justice’s outrageous contention that an undersized Red Grouper thrown overboard by a commercial fisherman in the Gulf of Mexico was a “record, document, or tangible object” under the “anti-shredding” provision of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.  By so doing, the Court prevented […]
Categories: Latest News

Nomination Hearing - Peg Gustafson to be Inspector General for the Department of Commerce

The Honorable Peg Gustafson will provide testimony at a U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation confirmation hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, May 10. On April 25, 2016, President Obama nominated Ms. Gustafson to serve as inspector general for the Department of Commerce. The Department of Commerce has been without a Senate confirmed inspector general since June 3, 2015.  Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), a member of the Commerce Committee and Chairman of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, wrote to President Obama on August 5, 2015, requesting a nomination.

Ms. Gustafson’s nomination questionnaire is available here.


The Honorable Peg Gustafson, Small Business Administration Inspector General (current position)

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, May 10, 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 news releases - Tue, 05/10/2016 - 12:00am
5,000 sq. ft. “Superpublic” at 50 U.N. Plaza Federal Office Building will be nation’s first collaborative workspace to host City, State, and Federal.

GSA Awards $23M Construction Contract to Upgrade Derby Line Port

GSA news releases - Mon, 05/09/2016 - 12:00am
Local Vermont Contractor to put people to work updating critical Port of Entry infrastructure

EPA Poised to Attempt Fracking Ban Through Orchestrated Settlements?

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 9:25am
Returning to the topic of hydraulic fracturing (see Mark Chenoweth’s May 4 post below), we note the lawsuit that the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and other environmental activists filed on May 4 against EPA, alleging that the agency simply is not doing enough to regulate fracking. Just two days earlier, the Colorado Supreme Court held […]
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GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth Emboldens UNCG Students to Serve as Bold and Confident Ambassadors of Spartan Values

GSA news releases - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 12:00am
GSA Administrator Roth Highlights New Initiatives to Bolster Business and Tech Opportunities in Government

Chairman Chabot in Washington Examiner: Every Small Business Started As An Idea

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 12:00am

Every Small Business Started As An Idea
By Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
May 6, 2016

Every small business started as an idea.

Each year, National Small Business Week gives us the perfect opportunity to celebrate the invaluable contribution America’s small businesses make to our economy and the ideas that made them possible.

It is also an opportunity for Washington to refocus its efforts to help them thrive so they can do what they do best: create jobs and help grow our economy.

As our Committee noted in a bipartisan House resolution we introduced recognizing this week as National Small Business Week, the most recent statistics show there is nothing “small” about small business in America.

For instance, many people are surprised to learn that 99.7 percent of businesses with employees are small businesses and that 98 percent of American exporters are small businesses.

Sixty three percent of new jobs created are by small businesses and 46 percent of private sector output is produced by these engines of economic growth.

This huge economic footprint means that nearly everything Washington does - from taxes to regulations to health care to international trade - affects millions of families because they impact our small businesses.

As Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, I hear from small business owners from across the country about how they feel hamstrung by excessive regulation and complicated taxes.

This Congress, we’ve made some meaningful progress by easing some of these burdens that will help our small businesses prosper.

We’ve begun the hard work of getting the tax code to work for small businesses instead of against them. Specifically, we have made both the research and development tax credit and Section 179 expensing permanent. We also expanded bonus depreciation through 2019.

To help lower energy costs for small businesses and individuals, we also ended the decades-old ban on crude oil exports. We have also opened new doors for economic development by strengthening local Certified Development Companies (CDCs) and the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program.

To honor our American heroes and encourage veteran entrepreneurship, we waived upfront 7(a) loan fees for veterans and their spouses who want to start a small business. This bipartisan law helps veterans build on the leadership skills they have learned while serving our country which translates well into success as entrepreneurs.

We’ve also passed The Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act, to help startup companies access early capital through “angel investors” by a vote of 325 to 89.  

When entrepreneurs look for ways to get their business off the ground and keep it off the ground, they look at every avenue available to them. I firmly believe that Congress must take the same approach as we look for new ways to help them succeed.

There is no effort too big or too small when it comes to empowering America’s entrepreneurs. Their efforts exemplify the American dream each and every day. 

As Walt Disney, himself a great entrepreneur, once remarked, “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

We must do all we can to encourage America’s innovators who dare to dream and put their shoulders to the wheel to turn those dreams into realities.

I urge all Americans to support their local small businesses this #SmallBizWeek2016. 

Congressman Steve Chabot represents Ohio's First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives where he is chairman of the House Committee on Small Business. He is also a senior member of the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Foreign Affairs. You can follow the committee on Twitter @HouseSmallBiz.

Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 05/06/2016 - 12:00am

From the Office of the Speaker:

Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot to Deliver Weekly Republican Address

WASHINGTON — Marking National Small Business Week, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) announced today that House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) will deliver the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday, May 7. In the address, Chairman Chabot will discuss how House Republicans are working to relieve small businesses of excessive regulations and complicated taxes imposed under the current tax system.

Small business owners, employees, and entrepreneurs everywhere should be energized by our reform agenda for the future,” said Chairman Chabot. “I’m excited to deliver this address to discuss the bold new ideas House Republicans are bringing to the table that will challenge the way Washington does business for years to come.”

“Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy,” Speaker Ryan said in an op-ed for the The Journal Times. “Right now, the deck is stacked against our workers and small businesses. Let’s lower their tax rates, level the playing field, and watch our small businesses thrive.”

Chairman Steve Chabot has proudly served on the House Small Business Committee since first being elected to Congress in 1994. During his time in Congress, he has made small business growth and job creation a top priority. Chairman Chabot served as ranking member on the Small Business Committee from 2007-2008. During the 113th Congress, he also served as chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific, where he focused on opening new markets and expanding trade opportunities for American businesses.

Learn more about Chairman Chabot by following him on Twitter, liking his Facebook page, or visiting his website. Learn more about the House Small Business Committee by following it on Twitter, liking its Facebook page, or visiting its website.

NOTE: The Weekly Republican Address will be available starting Saturday, May 7, at 6:00 a.m. ET on speaker.gov.

- See more at: http://www.speaker.gov/press-release/small-business-committee-chairman-steve-chabot-deliver-weekly-republican-address#sthash.8JHB7Rm7.dpuf

Sixth Circuit Reins in False Claims Act Plaintiffs in First-of-its-Kind Health Information Case

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 05/05/2016 - 1:58pm
The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently dealt qui tam plaintiffs and their lawyers a setback in their campaign to expand federal False Claims Act (FCA) liability in the healthcare industry.  Addressing an issue of first impression, the court affirmed the dismissal of a relator’s claim that non-compliance with the Health Information […]
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Commerce Announces Hearing on Future of Science and Technology Policy

Witnesses have been asked to testify about ways to improve the roles of the federal government, private sector, and academia in science and technology research and development, STEM education and workforce, and the application of research and development to commercial uses.

GSA Administrator Roth Highlights New Initiatives to Bolster Business and Tech Opportunities in Government

GSA news releases - Thu, 05/05/2016 - 12:00am
GSA Administrator Roth Highlights New Initiatives to Bolster Business and Tech Opportunities in Government

Kudos to Colorado Supreme Court for Protecting Private-Property Rights from Special-Interest Enviro Groups

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 05/04/2016 - 1:29pm
Fracking is alive and well in Colorado.  This past Monday, the Colorado Supreme Court delivered a unanimous and resounding victory to property-rights owners in two important hydrofracking cases.  Joining states like Texas, Oklahoma, and Ohio, the Centennial State determined that local activism must give way to state law when it comes to permitting the fracking […]
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