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Thune Announces FCC Reauthorization Act Introduction

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D) announced the introduction of the FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016. Congress approved the last reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1990.

Chairman Chabot in INJO: How Congress Is Removing Obstacles For American Entrepreneurs

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 03/07/2016 - 12:00am
How Congress Is Removing Obstacles For American Entrepreneurs

By Chairman Steve Chabot
March 7, 2016

I was recently reminded of an old story about Ohio’s legendary aviators, Wilbur and Orville Wright.

The Wright Brothers hailed from just north of my district in Dayton and embodied the spirit of American entrepreneurship through their risk-taking, innovation and perseverance. When people asked them what made their machine fly, the Wright Brothers didn’t get into a physics lesson. They cut straight to the heart of the matter and said simply, “the airplane stays up because it doesn’t have the time to fall.”

Over a century later in the face of the rough headwinds of high taxation and overregulation our entrepreneurs say the same thing. They stay up because they don’t have the time to fall. And thank goodness they do. With nearly half of the workforce going to work every day at a small business, and about 7 out of every 10 new jobs created by a small business, virtually everything Washington does to small businesses can have a major impact on millions of families.

As Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, I am 100 percent committed to making sure the voices of small businesses are heard in Washington. It’s remarkable how our entrepreneurs can continue to create jobs and grow the economy when—on an almost daily basis—Washington seems intent on throwing up new obstacles that threaten to impede their success. That’s what my Committee is trying to change.

In December, our new Speaker, Paul Ryan, laid out an agenda for a “Confident America.” He said what we all know: restoring confidence in the American economy is key. Nowhere is confidence a bigger factor than with entrepreneurship. Investors need confidence that the risk they’re about to take is worthwhile. Innovators need confidence that their dreams really are within reach. Entrepreneurs need confidence that they can get off the ground and stay off the ground without the federal government holding them back. We have already made some meaningful progress in this effort.

Last year, led by the Small Business Committee, Congress passed the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act to waive the upfront fees for the Small Business Administration’s 7(a) express loans for veterans and their spouses. We also passed the RISE After Disaster Act to help small businesses ravaged by Superstorm Sandy, and victims of future natural disasters, get the help they need from the SBA (the Small Business Administration). We also passed key provisions in the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act to help small firms compete for contracts with the Department of Defense. This benefits entrepreneurs and their employees, but it also benefits the taxpayers footing the bill, making sure they get more bang for their buck.

Another area that we’ve emphasized to promote entrepreneurship is access to capital. This is obviously critical for an entrepreneur to get his or her business off the ground in the first place, and it’s critical to expand and create more jobs in an economy that still has much room for growth. Towards this goal, our Committee has done everything within its power to fully fund the 7(a) loan program. We’ve also done everything possible to open new doors for economic development through local Certified Development Companies, or CDCs, and supported the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program.

We are also committed to exercising serious oversight of the SBA to ensure that America’s small businesses are being served efficiently and effectively. I’ve talked to a lot of entrepreneurs over the years who have told me what a daunting, paperwork-intensive effort it can be to obtain a loan through the SBA. Although, we are determined to make dealing with the SBA a more customer-friendly experience, we’re not there yet. As I told the SBA Administrator when she was testifying before our Committee last month, entrepreneurs and taxpayers have every right to expect that agencies charged with helping small businesses treat entrepreneurs as valued customers. She has assured me that they will continue to improve. I intend to hold her to that.

Looking toward the next few years, the most important step Congress can take to empower America’s entrepreneurs is to fundamentally reform our tax code. At the end of last year, we made permanent the increases for Section 179 expensing, the Research and Development tax credit, and we expanded bonus depreciation through 2019. That’s a good start. But simplifying the tax code, broadening the base, and lowering marginal rates, would be a huge boost to America’s entrepreneurs. Even though we may not be able to accomplish this in 2016, Congress should be working on it now.

American entrepreneurship has never been easy. Every moment in our history has had its own set of challenges. We must always remember that it’s not Washington policymakers who move us forward, it’s our entrepreneurs.

Commerce Approves MOBILE NOW Act and Nominations

The Senate Commerce Committee approved the MOBILE NOW Act to boost the development of next-generation 5G wireless broadband by ensuring more spectrum is made available for commercial use and reducing the red tape for building wireless networks.

Executive Session - MOBILE NOW Act, Nominations

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Thursday, March 3, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. to consider S. 2555, the MOBILE NOW Act and pending nominations.

Click here for a section-by-section summary of the MOBILE NOW Act.

Agenda:

- S. 2555, MOBILE NOW Act, Sponsors: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.)

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

- Nominations for promotion in the United States Coast Guard

*Agenda subject to change
 
Executive Session Details:
 
Thursday, March 3, 2016
 
10:00 a.m. in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253
 
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at 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.

Chairman John Thune

"Good morning.  I’d like to provide an overview of the items on today’s agenda.  Today, the Committee will consider a handful of nominations and Senator Nelson and my “Making Opportunities for Broadband Investment and Limiting Excessive and Needless Obstacles to Wireless” or MOBILE NOW Act.  

"This bipartisan legislation will help usher in the future of gigabit wireless connectivity known as fifth-generation or “5G” wireless.  5G will not only increase the speed and availability of wireless broadband; it will exponentially increase the opportunities for expanded wireless services.  From healthcare, to transportation safety, emergency response, and entertainment, the possibilities for 5G utilization are almost limitless.   

"The MOBILE NOW Act will boost the development of 5G by ensuring more spectrum is made available for commercial use and streamlining wireless network deployment regulations. The bill also contains provisions directing Federal agencies to evaluate a wide range of future spectrum bands for wireless broadband within three years after enactment, including the important millimeter wave frequencies that will be critical for 5G services.   

"The bill advances the Dig Once approach to broadband deployment by encouraging adoption of this policy by Federal agencies.  It also directs the federal government to create a national broadband facilities assets database, which will act as an online inventory of federal government property assets available for private-sector deployment of broadband facilities. 

"I want to thank the entire Committee for working with Senator Nelson and me on this important legislation.  We have been able to work together and are hoping to accept about a dozen amendments to improve the bill. 

"I particularly want to thank Senator Klobuchar for working with the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee and us on her Dig Once amendment.  We share the common sense goal of this policy and look forward to continuing to work with her on this issue going forward. 

"I am hopeful that, soon after our consideration of the MOBILE NOW Act, the full Senate will take up the measure.  Our nation has always been at the forefront of wireless innovations, and the MOBILE NOW Act will help ensure that we will continue to lead the way.   

"MOBILE NOW, however, ought not to be the end of the story for 5G legislation.  There is more that Congress can do to boost next generation wireless in this country.  I look forward to working with my colleagues to help develop additional proposals for consideration by the Committee.  Nevertheless, we shouldn’t delay passing the important consensus provisions in MOBILE NOW, because we need to do what we can for mobile… now.   

"In addition to the MOBILE NOW Act, the Committee is also considering two civilian nominations and two Coast Guard promotions on today’s agenda.  Scott Darling has been nominated to lead the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.  He is currently the Acting Administrator, and previously served as Chief Counsel.

"Daniel Maffei has been nominated to be a Commissioner at the Federal Maritime Commission.  He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress.  Before that, he served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, representing Syracuse, New York.  It is important to fill this position at the FMC, as the person Mr. Maffei would be replacing had his term expire in June of 2012, nearly four years ago.

"The two Coast Guard promotions are flag level officers.  Adm. Francis Pelkowski has been promoted to be Rear Admiral, Upper Half. Adm. Fred Midgette has been promoted to be Vice Admiral and Deputy Commandant for Operations.  All of these nominations are non-controversial, and we expect them to move by voice vote today.

"With that, I will turn to the Ranking Member for any opening remarks he would like to make." 

Antitrust Merger Enforcement In the Obama Administration: Has the Pendulum Swung Too Far?

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 9:00am
Featured Expert Contributor – Antitrust & Competition, U.S. Department of Justice Mark J. Botti, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP with Anthony W. Swisher, Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP With a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearings scheduled for March 9, it seems an appropriate time to examine whether the Obama Administration’s more aggressive merger enforcement has […]
Categories: Latest News

Two Bills Helping Small Businesses Access Capital Approved by Financial Services Committee

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 03/03/2016 - 12:00am
 

WASHINGTON—Two pieces of legislation led by Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) were approved by the Financial Services Committee yesterday and now await action by the House of Representatives.

The Helping Angels Lead our Startups (HALOS) Act, introduced in February, and the Main Street Growth Act, introduced last week alongside Financial Services’s Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee Chairman Scott Garrett (R-NJ), both open doors for small businesses to be more competitive in accessing the capital they need to get started.

Opportunities to help new startups and promising small businesses access capital are everywhere if we look for them,” said Chairman Chabot.I appreciate our colleagues on the Financial Services Committee for the attention and care they gave our legislation and the small businesses these bills can help.

For more information about the HALOS Act, click here.

For more information about the Main Street Growth Act, click here.

For bill text and a breakdown of yesterday’s markup at Financial Services, click here.

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Fifth Circuit Allows Maliciously Prosecuted Company to Sue US Government for Damages

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 2:36pm
In 1996, a heavily armed team of EPA criminal investigators raided a facility of Louisiana company Trinity Marine Products, Inc. Three years later, the federal government indicted the company and manager of the raided facility, Hubert Vidrine, for illegally storing hazardous waste without a permit. The U.S. Attorney dismissed the indictment in 2003. On February […]
Categories: Latest News

Market-Based Efforts to Fight Online Copyright Piracy Earn a New Ally

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 11:45am
Washington Legal Foundation has long supported industry self-help initiatives, including those aimed at protecting intellectual property rights. The WLF Legal Pulse, for instance, has highlighted industry efforts to self-police copyright infringement and reduce frivolous patent litigation (for example, here and here). On the copyright front, as we’ve previously discussed, websites that facilitate or traffic in […]
Categories: Latest News

"Commercializing on Innovation: Reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 11:00am
Chairman Steve Chabot has scheduled a hearing of the Committee on Small Business titled, "Commercializing on Innovation:  Reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs." The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11 A.M. on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. 

Witnesses

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

Barry Johnson, Ph.D.
Division Director
Industrial Innovation & Partnerships
National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA

Matthew Portnoy, Ph.D.
Overall HHS SBIR/STTR
Program Manager/ NIH Program Manager
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD

Mr. Robert Smith
Director
SBIR/STTR Programs
Office of Naval Research
Arlington, VA

Hearing Materials
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing on Wednesday, March 2, 2016 at 10:00 a.m., entitled, “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission.” As part of the Committee’s oversight responsibilities, the hearing will have a broad scope covering every aspect of the agency and major policy issues before the Commission.

“From video policy to spectrum, the FCC’s decisions have an enormous effect on the future of our technology economy,” said Thune. “This hearing presents an opportunity for committee members to raise issues with the agency’s top decision makers and evaluate the need for legislative initiatives.”
 
Witnesses:

- The Honorable Tom Wheeler, Chairman, Federal Communications Commission
- The Honorable Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
- The Honorable Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
- The Honorable Ajit Pai, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
- The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission

Hearing Details:
 
Full Committee Hearing
Wednesday, March 2, 2016
10:00 a.m.
 
Full Committee hearing entitled “Oversight of the Federal Communications Commission”
 
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 at 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.

Chairman John Thune

"Welcome to today’s hearing on oversight of the Federal Communications Commission. 

"During our oversight hearing last March, I expressed my amazement that an agency as important as the Federal Communications Commission had not been reauthorized by Congress in 25 years—making it the oldest expired authorization within the Commerce Committee’s expansive jurisdiction.

"Reversing a quarter century of legislative inertia takes time, but together we are beginning to make some progress. 

"For example, today’s hearing marks the first time this century the full FCC has appeared before this Committee twice during a single Congress. 

"Another example is our unanimous approval last year of Senator Heller’s FCC Consolidated Reporting Act, which would make the Commission’s various marketplace examinations less burdensome on the agency, as well as more informative to Congress.     

"Reauthorizing the FCC is our responsibility as legislators and representatives of diverse constituencies who are increasingly affected by a regulatory agency with a nearly half billion dollar budget. 

"It’s time for this Committee to get back to regularly authorizing the Commission as part of its normal course of business.  To that end, in the next few days, I will introduce the FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016, and it is my intent to mark up the bill in the coming weeks.   

"We have before us today a very familiar face – Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel – who is appearing before the Committee for the fourth time this Congress. 

"Commissioner Rosenworcel’s ‎re-nomination is currently pending before the full Senate.  Commissioner, I support your confirmation, and I was pleased to process your nomination through the Committee last year.

"I appreciate your public service at the FCC and your prior service to this Committee.

"Last year’s oversight hearing came shortly after the very successful auction of AWS-3 spectrum, which netted more than $41 billion in winning bids. 

"That record-setting auction was the product of the 2012 Spectrum Act, which also authorized the innovative incentive auction of broadcast TV airwaves that is scheduled to begin next month. 

"In the incentive auction, the FCC is charged with a balanced mission –one, reallocate the spectrum voluntarily relinquished by TV stations to commercial wireless users and, two, protect both the TV stations that continue to operate following the auction and their viewers.

"Congress provided nearly $2 billion to reimburse stations forced to relocate during the so-called “post-auction re-pack” and the FCC has established a timeline to complete the repacking process. 

"Concerns have been raised, however, that the reimbursement funds and time allotted for repacking may be inadequate. 

"I am hopeful that will not be the case.  Nevertheless, these concerns deserve and will receive the close attention of this Committee. 

"I know my colleagues and I all wish to see a successful incentive auction and a successful repacking process.

"While local broadcast TV remains an important and popular medium, the broader video market continues to dramatically change and grow.

"In fact, the video services market is one of the most dynamic segments of the communications space. 

"It is driving tremendous innovation in consumer electronics, dynamic experimentation in video distribution business models, and growing broadband data consumption by consumers. 

"It is not a coincidence that the parts of the video market seeing the most innovation are also the least regulated. 

"Amidst this increasingly competitive video reality, the FCC recently proposed a partisan rulemaking to have the government somehow produce better results than the astonishing and consumer-empowering disruption that is already happening.

"Ranking Member Nelson sent Chairman Wheeler a letter shortly before the FCC’s adoption of this new technology regulation proposal. 

"I agree with Senator Nelson’s sentiment that “advances abound in the competitive video navigation device market,” and that “section 629 should always be implemented with an eye towards what is actually happening in the marketplace.” 

"Further, I want to echo Senator Nelson’s warning to the Commission that section 629 does not contemplate imposing regulations “by which third parties gain, for their own commercial advantage, the ability to alter, add to, or interfere with the programming provided by content providers.” 

"The bottom line is that today’s video market is increasingly competitive and traditional pay-TV subscribers are rapidly finding new, more user-friendly, and less expensive ways to receive the TV services they purchase on an increasing array of consumer devices, including some made by the largest companies on Earth.

"Finally, I would like to address the issue of standalone broadband support for small rural carriers. 

"Because of flawed Universal Service Fund rules, these providers lose all support for serving households that choose to subscribe to broadband while not simultaneously purchasing landline telephone service. 

"Last March, all five of you made commitments to me and this Committee to fix this counterproductive loophole by the end of 2015. 

"It is my understanding that an item is currently on circulation at the Commission that would fix the standalone broadband problem, and which reflects a negotiated compromise on some other complex USF reforms that have been linked to this simple objective. 

"While the 2015 deadline for standalone broadband has recently passed, I am glad the extra time appears to have given a fair chance for rural providers to assess the impact of those complex reform proposals on their businesses and on the rural broadband customers they serve.

"I look forward to seeing the full plan, assessing its impact on South Dakotans, and continuing to provide oversight of the FCC’s implementation of these reforms as Chairman of this Committee. 

"In the meantime, I would like to thank all of you for fulfilling your commitment to fix the standalone broadband issue for rural consumers across this nation.

"Now, before I conclude, I would just like to say a word regarding the report issued earlier this week by Chairman Johnson. 

"Among other things, the report finds that the FCC “failed to live up to standards of transparency.” 

"I want to thank Chairman Johnson and his staff for their work on this report, and I hope the Commission—rather than resorting to a defensive posture—will look for ways to demonstrate the kind of transparency expected of our independent agencies. 

"Today’s hearing provides one opportunity to do just that.

"I look forward to hearing your testimony and appreciate your participation here today."

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Thank you, Chairman Thune, for holding this hearing today.  And I want to welcome our panel today.

It has been almost a year since all five members of the Federal Communications Commission appeared before this committee, and much has happened in that time.

As our nation grows ever more Internet-enabled, more connected, and more mobile, the FCC’s role becomes ever more critical.  You are the expert agency Congress created over all things communications.  You have a statutory mandate to protect consumers, promote competition, ensure universal service, and preserve public safety. And as technology transitions, those core directives do not.

In terms of protecting consumers, I want to call your attention to the ongoing problem of spoofing. 

Last week, Senator Fischer and I introduced the Spoofing Prevention Act of 2016, designed to update the law and provide the FCC with more enforcement tools to combat these abusive phone scams.  Americans lose millions each year to these scams.  We must protect the public from these scammers, and I hope that the Committee can act swiftly on our legislation.  In the meantime, I expect the FCC to do everything it can under current law to stop these scammers in their tracks.

In terms of promoting competition, there has been intense interest in the past few weeks on the FCC’s recent set-top box proposal.  I support the existing statutory obligation to promote competition and choice in how consumers access their pay television programming – but it is essential that any new FCC rules in this area must not harm the production and distribution of video content.

The FCC, too, has worked hard to keep the U.S. competitive in our national spectrum policy.  In a matter of weeks, the commission will launch the world’s first voluntary spectrum incentive auction.  The agency deserves much praise for getting us to this point. 

At the same time, many of us have heard concerns about what may happen after the auction during any repacking of TV stations.  Obviously, we will continue to watch the FCC’s work closely to make sure TV viewers are not disenfranchised at the end of this important process.

I also want to recognize the work being done by the FCC related to 5-G, next-generation wireless services.  The nation is once again on the verge of a wireless revolution, and the work on new spectrum frontiers for such services is vital to American leadership in this area.  Tomorrow, this committee will take up the bipartisan MOBILE NOW Act that Chairman Thune and I have developed.  That bill, too, is designed to help move the ball forward on 5G.

In terms of ensuring universal service, as important as it is to promote cutting-edge communications technologies, it is equally important that all Americans have access to those networks.  I know that the FCC has been spending significant time considering reforms to the Lifeline program.  Let me be clear, we must have a Lifeline program that helps low-income Americans obtain access to broadband in order to participate in today’s digital community and economy.  Failing to do so risks exacerbating the digital divide.

In terms of public safety, a call to 9-1-1 remains the most important call any of us will ever make. 

The FCC has taken a number of actions in recent years to help improve the nation’s 9-1-1 system.  I was the author of the Net 9-1-1 Improvement Act several years ago.  That law ensured 9-1-1 service was available to Voice-over-Internet–Protocol subscribers.  As we look to the next generation of 9-1-1, I stand ready to help lead the effort to modernize this critical system.  I will be interested to hear your thoughts on how we best move forward toward that national goal.

Finally, speaking of public safety, I wanted to thank Commissioner Rosenworcel for her continued leadership in this area.  We need Commissioner Rosenworcel re-confirmed to the commission as soon as possible. 

At the end of the 113th Congress, we had one Republican FCC Commissioner – Mike O’Rielly – awaiting confirmation. Democrats agreed to confirm O’Rielly’s nomination without pairing him with any other nominee in exchange for a promise that Republicans would confirm Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel quickly in the new Congress.

Senators McConnell promised Senator Reid and then-Chairman Rockefeller that they would move the Rosenworcel nomination without delay in the new Congress if Democrats agreed to move Commissioner O’Rielly’s nomination.

Commissioner Rosenworcel’s nomination is now on the executive calendar.  Chairman Thune, I know you are working with Leader McConnell to make this happen.  We do not want lose her leadership and thoughtful approach to the crucial issues the FCC is facing.  

I want to thank all five FCC Commissioners for appearing before the committee today.  I look forward to hearing your testimony.

 

Innovation Nation: One Step Congress Can Take to Help Small Businesses

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/02/2016 - 12:00am

Committee Getting a “Jump Start” on Reauthorizing Two Key SBA Programs

SBIR/STTR Help Small Firms Get New, Life-Saving Technology to Market

WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) announced at a hearing that he will begin the process for reauthorizing two key programs administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to help small firms perform research and development in the science and technology sectors. The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are set to expire next year and early reauthorization would give stability and predictability to thousands of American entrepreneurs.

“Innovation is the engine that drives our economy. Technological breakthroughs and the entrepreneurship it spurs build our economy by finding state-of-the-art solutions to difficult problems and marketing those new products,” said Chairman Chabot. “This correlation is particularly important in the small business arena. Small businesses tend to be more nimble, responding to market changes more rapidly than their bigger counterparts, and they drive the innovation sector and make us more agile in the global economy.”

“In this era of globalization, making it easier for small businesses to develop and commercialize new, innovative products is essential for America’s competitiveness and national security. This is why programs like SBIR and STTR are so important,” Chabot added.

Today’s panel was the first in a two-part series on “Commercializing on Innovation: Reauthorizing the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Programs.” The next event will be a field hearing in Lynn, Massachusetts on Tuesday, March 8, 2016.

Key Witness Testimony:

Robert Smith, Director of the SBIR/STTR Programs at the Office of Naval Research, pointed to two examples of technologies developed by small businesses using the programs in his testimony:

"Two examples of outstanding Navy SBIR/STTR contributions to our Military and our Nation are EMILY and Automated Celestial Navigation:

· The Emergency Integrated Lifesaving Lanyard – called EMILY -- is a robotic lifeguard deployed world-wide by Hydronalix, a rural Arizona company. Several of EMILY’s technologies derive from a 1991 Office of Naval Research STTR project to track whale migration. The tracking system, reconfigured as the Silver Fox Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV), was deployed in 2007 to provide convoy protection to Marines in Iraq, saving 3 lives. The same basic technology package, reconfigured as EMILY, is supporting first responders throughout the U.S. and other nations, and saving lives today in the Mediterranean Sea refugee crisis.

· Trex Enterprises’ Automated Celestial Navigation (ASN) system provides a solution in GPS-denied environments through a fully automated star tracker for imaging individual stars both day and night to enhance navigation capability. Initially focused on Navy challenges, ASN attracted attention across the government: the result being a fellow agency ordering 15 systems, with applications in crime fighting and drug interdiction."

Dr. Matthew Portnoy, the SBIR and STTR Program coordinator at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), observed: “The NIH SBIR/STTR programs are ideally suited for creating research opportunities for U.S. small businesses to stimulate technological innovation. Part of a complex innovation ecosystem, these programs provide dedicated funding for U.S. small businesses to conduct early-stage research and development to explore the feasibility of innovative ideas that may eventually result in products or services that will lead to better health for everyone.”

BACKGROUND:

Chairman Chabot has been a strong supporter of the SBIR and STTR programs. Last year, he spoke at an SBIR expo on Capitol Hill and stressed the importance of the programs to small businesses in his testimony before the House Armed Services Committee yesterday.

You can watch the full video of today’s hearing here.

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Feature Your Projects on the WCOE Resource Center Website

WCOE News - Tue, 03/01/2016 - 12:50pm

The WCOE Resource Center is launching a new educational website and would like to feature projects by woman contractors. Please send pictures and a brief description of the projects to sharon@wcoeusa.org.

Categories: Latest News

Subcommittee Convenes Hearing on the State of the U.S. Maritime Industry

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), chair of the Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Subcommittee, will hold a hearing titled “The State of the U.S. Maritime Industry: The Federal Role” on Tuesday, March 8, at 2:30 p.m.
 
The hearing will examine U.S. maritime policy and conduct oversight over the U.S. Maritime Administration, U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, and the Federal Maritime Commission. Leaders from the U.S. Maritime Administration and the Federal Maritime Commission will testify. Witnesses have been asked to discuss the state of the nation’s maritime transportation system, current challenges, and ways that federal policy and programs can enhance its performance.
 
Witnesses:
 
•    The Honorable Paul “Chip” Jaenichen, Administrator, U.S. Maritime Administration
•    The Honorable Mario Cordero, Chairman, Federal Maritime Commission
•    Rear Admiral James Helis, United States Maritime Service Superintendent, United States Merchant Marine Academy
•    Mr. Mitch Behm, Assistant Inspector General, U.S. Department of Transportation
 
* Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:
 
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
2:30 p.m.
 
Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Subcommittee 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.

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