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Accelerating Agriculture: How Federal Regulations Impact America’s Small Farmers

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/21/2018 - 10:30am

The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade will meet for a hearing titled, “Accelerating Agriculture: How Federal Regulations Impact America’s Small Farmers.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:30 A.M. on Thursday, June 21, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building

Complying with federal regulations continues to be one of the biggest challenges for America’s small businesses, including small farmers.  Many federal agencies have the authority to issue regulations that impact the agriculture industry.  As a result, small farmers often struggle to comply with expensive, confusing, and time-consuming regulations, which impacts their ability to grow.  This hearing will examine how federal regulations affect small farmers and explore ways to provide regulatory relief to the industry.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses
Mr. Craig Martins
Operations Manager
Three Rivers FS
Dyersville, IA
* Testifying on behalf of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives and GROWMARK, Inc.

Mr. John Weber
Owner
Valley Lane Farms Inc.
Dysart, IA
* Testifying on behalf of the National Pork Producers Council

Mr. Glenn Brunkow
Co-Owner
Brush Creek Cattle Company
Wamego, KS
* Testifying on behalf of the American Farm Bureau Federation

Nominations Hearing

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, to consider two presidential nominees. 

Completed nomination questionnaires are available at www.commerce.senate.gov/nominations  

Witnesses:

  • Mr. Geoffrey Adam Starks, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission
  • Mr. Peter Aaron Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Communities That Think Small and Win Big

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 06/20/2018 - 11:00am

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Communities That Think Small and Win Big.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building

This hearing will highlight communities that have developed thriving small business ecosystems.  Local officials will analyze key elements of a business-friendly environment and review socioeconomic returns on small business investment within their communities and surrounding regions.  Members will have the opportunity to discuss innovative economic development policy strategies and determine best practices.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses 
Mr. Greg Prestemon
President & CEO
EDC Business & Community Partners
St. Charles, MO

Mr. Derek Miller
President & CEO
Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance
Salt Lake City, UT

Mr. Gregg Bishop
Commissioner
NYC Department of Small Business Services
New York, NY

Cambridge Analytica and Other Facebook Partners: Examining Data Privacy Risks

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, will convene a hearing entitled, “Cambridge Analytica and Other Facebook Partners: Examining Data Privacy Risks,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.  The hearing is a follow-up to a joint full committee hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with a focus on the collection and use of social media data, the privacy concerns raised in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal, and potential steps to protect consumers.


Witnesses:

To Be Announced

Hearing Details: 

Tuesday, June 19, 2018
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Trio of Soda Cases Test the Limits of Attorney-Driven Class Action Lawsuits

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 4:52pm
Guest Commentary By Jeffrey B. Margulies, Partner-in-Charge of the Los Angeles, CA office of Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP. The approach of many plaintiff consumer class-action lawyers is not difficult to discern: Concoct a factual theory to support a claim under California’s consumer-friendly laws that survives a motion to dismiss and a motion for class …

Continue reading Trio of Soda Cases Test the Limits of Attorney-Driven Class Action Lawsuits

Categories: Latest News

The Perspective of Rural Small Businesses in North Mississippi

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 2:00pm

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a field hearing titled, “The Perspective of Rural Small Businesses in North Mississippi.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:00 P.M. (CT) on Monday, June 18, 2018 at the ServPro Training Center, 1160 Stateline Road East, Southaven, MS.

Rural America is still recovering from the last recession in 2008. Many rural small businesses have not been able to survive because of overregulation, lack of access to capital, and a drop in net farm income. With the United States economy now flourishing, rural small businesses are finally starting to see the effects and get back on their feet. Through H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and the rollback of numerous regulations by many government agencies, the federal government is working to help rural small businesses survive.  This hearing aims to highlight how rural small businesses are faring in today’s economy and the outlook going forward.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses
Mr. Pat Woods
Owner
Woods Farm Supply, Inc.
Byhalia, MS

Mr. Geoffrey Carter
Founder, President and CEO
Hyperion Technology Group, Inc.
Tupelo, MS

Exploring the State of Western Kentucky’s Small Businesses

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 10:00am

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Exploring the State of Western Kentucky’s Small Businesses.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. (CT) on Monday, June 18, 2018 at the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce, Paducah Bank Room, 300 South 3rd Street, Paducah, KY.

The purpose of the hearing is for Western Kentucky small business leaders to share their experiences and to provide the Committee with recommendations about federal policies that will help them to grow their businesses and create jobs.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witnesses
Mr. Bruce Kimbell
President
First Community Bank of the Heartland
Clinton, KY

Mr. Leon Owens
President
Swift & Staley, Inc.
Paducah, KY

Mr. Edward Musselman
Owner
Musselman Properties
Paducah, KY

Mr. Jonas Neihoff
Owner
Socially Present
Paducah, KY

Rep. Kelly Examines Small Businesses in Rural America

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:00am

MISSISSIPPI – This afternoon, the House Small Business Committee held a field hearing in Southaven, Mississippi to examine issues facing rural small businesses including access to capital, lack of reliable broadband, and finding qualified employees.

Subcommittee Chairman on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations Trent Kelly (R-MS) said, “Although the economy is getting stronger, rural America is still recovering from the 2008 recession. Today we asked these small business owners to share with us problems they are still facing so we can share them with our colleagues and develop policies to address them. The best ideas don’t flow from Washington to the people, the best ideas flow from the people back to Washington.”

“I thank Subcommittee Chairman Kelly for having me attend this hearing as well and hear first-hand from rural small businesses in North Mississippi. While the economy is doing better thanks to tax cuts and fewer regulations, we can see we still have work to do to help our countries’ small businesses succeed,” said House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).

Issues and Triumphs in Rural America

“Rural Mississippi is lagging behind in the area of connectivity to the internet.  I hear stories on a daily basis of school children that have to come to town to download their homework, business growth hampered by a lack of adequate service, and precision agriculture technology that loses a signal due to a lack of connectivity in their area….I commend the Committee for all the work that has been done to bring broadband to rural America,” said Pat Woods, Owner of Woods Farm Supply in Byhalia, MS.

“As we continue to grow, one of our many challenges is when to invest in another full-time employee. As you can imagine being in the service business as we are, people are critical, but due to some of these government initiatives, we have to hold back from hiring and stretch our people further, and as you know there is a breaking point with personnel, and we don’t want to reach that,” said Jason Bailey, President and CEO of Summit Management Services in Oxford, MS.

The roll back and benefits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created significant financial resources available as expendable income to all of customers, which has been realized by 20% growth from the same period last year,” said Michael Hatcher, President of Michael Hatcher & Associates in Olive Branch, MS.

The tax cuts afforded to us by H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, will make it easier for Hyperion to continue to grow and expand its footprint in both the government and commercial sectors,” said Geoffrey Carter, Founder, President, and CEO of Hyperion Technology Group in Tupelo, MS.

 

 

 

Exploring the State of Western Kentucky’s Small Businesses

House Small Business Committee News - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:00am

PADUCAH, KENTUCKY—Today, the House Committee on Small Business held a field hearing in Congressman James Comer’s (R-KY) congressional district on the state of Western Kentucky’s small businesses and what recommendations they have about federal policies.

“Small businesses were responsible for 1.9 million net new jobs in 2015 (including more than 17,000 net new jobs in Kentucky),” said Congressman James Comer. “As most of you know, Paducah is a dynamic, fast-growing city that engages its citizens and is recognized as a regional leader on many levels. Paducah is also financially sustainable, maintains quality infrastructure and facilities, and has a thriving river industry. It is a small city with big aspirations that offers great incentives for families and businesses to flourish.”

Hearing from the Heartland

“In order for small businesses to grow they require safe and reliable funding. Community banks focus intensely on small business lending,” said Mr. Bruce Kimbell, President and CEO of First Community Bank of the Heartland in Clinton, KY. “At my bank, as is true of my banker colleagues around the country, we are intensely focused on building and maintaining long-term relationships with our customers. We view our customers not as numbers but as individuals and business owners.” 

“Swift & Staley Inc. transitioned from a privately owned company to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) Company in May 2017. We are aggressively looking to expand our service to other federal sectors and locations while maintaining our core competencies and client focus,” said Mr. Leon Owens, President of Swift & Staley Inc. in Paducah, KY. “On behalf of all ESOP small businesses, we would like to thank the Committee for supporting H.R. 5236 (Main Street Employee Ownership Act).”

“If the cost of doing business is less, more will be able to successfully operate a business while providing an adequate living to their family and those that they employ,” said Mr. Edward Musselman, Owner of Musselman Properties in Paducah, KY. “Fewer vacant buildings will strengthen real estate markets. More jobs and more offerings and strong economies will attract addition al residents and businesses.”

“When I first launched Socially Present over 6 years ago, there were several obstacles I ran into but also several resources that helped me get started. The main obstacle was a lack of organized information and the complexity of putting together a business plan,” said Mr. Jonas Neihoff, President of Socially Present in Paducah, KY. “Seeing that need, we launched our own program called “Small Town Big Idea” to help budding entrepreneurs develop their idea to a place where it is ready to launch.”

Click here for full witness testimony. 

Shrinking the Skills Gap: Solutions to the Small Business Workforce Shortage

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:00am

The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access will meet for a hearing titled, “Shrinking the Skills Gap: Solutions to the Small Business Workforce Shortage.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, June 14, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

This hearing will examine the current small business workforce, and provide an opportunity for small business owners and experts to provide innovative solutions to combat the small business employee shortage.

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List 

Witnesses
Mr. Todd Hitt
CEO
Kiddar Capital
Falls Church, VA

Mr. Kelly McCreight
President and CEO
Hamilton-Ryker IT Solutions
Nashville, TN
*Testifying on behalf of the American Staffing Association

Ms. Angela Dine Schmeisser
President and CEO
St. Marys Foundry, Inc.
St. Marys, OH

Shrinking the Skills Gap: How Small Businesses are Confronting a Big Problem

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access heard from a panel of small business owners and experts on the solutions that exist to combat the small business workforce shortage.

“The American economy is creating jobs at historic rates. Over 1 million jobs have been created so far this year, the unemployment rate is at an 18 year low of 3.8 percent, and there are now more vacant jobs than unemployed job seekers in the United States,” said Subcommittee Chairman Dave Brat (R-VA). “The problem is, when there are 6.6 million job vacancies, small businesses have a particularly difficult time finding and retaining qualified employees.”

Solutions to the Shortage

“I’ve witnessed the devastating effects a labor shortage can have on a business. Quite simply, it means a company cannot grow.… According to the National Federation of Independent Business, in April of this year 22 percent of small businesses said finding qualified workers was their ‘single most important business problem,’” said Mr. Todd Hitt, CEO of Kiddar Capital in Falls Church, VA. “There are several factors that contribute to the nation’s labor shortage: the vast Baby Boomer generation exiting the workforce, declining U.S. birth rates, the opioid epidemic that is gripping our country, and the gap between skills and employer needs.”

“Hamilton-Ryker is a total workforce solution and industry leader for the provision of industrial, administrative, and information technology staffing, as well as recruiting, management consulting, and information technology solutions,” said Mr. Kelly McCreight, President and CEO of Hamilton-Ryker IT Solutions in Nashville, TN. “With the economy at full employment, we’re taking measures to “upskill” the existing workforce—for instance, by taking workers who may have a certain skill set and providing them training to allow them to be promoted or move into another position at a higher wage rate.”

“The shortage of workers is both a result of a retiring workforce and overall growth in the economy and the manufacturing sector, “said Ms. Angela Dine Schmeisser, President and CEO of St. Marys Foundry, Inc. in St. Marys, OH. “Changing public perceptions to match the realities of U.S. manufacturing is critical to addressing the worker shortage in our sector, especially among millennials. Also important is rebuilding a pipeline of potential recruits through high school and career technical programs.”

Click HERE to read full testimonies and HERE to watch full hearing video.

Committee Announces Hearing for Presidential Nominees to the FCC and CPSC

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 20, 2018, to consider two presidential nominees. 

Completed nomination questionnaires are available at www.commerce.senate.gov/nominations  

Witnesses:

  • Mr. Geoffrey Adam Starks, of Kansas, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission
  • Mr. Peter Aaron Feldman, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Consumer Product Safety Commission

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, June 20, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Subcommittee to Hold Hearing Examining Social Media Data Use and Privacy Concerns

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security, will convene a hearing entitled, “Cambridge Analytica and Other Facebook Partners: Examining Data Privacy Risks,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19, 2018.  The hearing is a follow-up to a joint full committee hearing with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, with a focus on the collection and use of social media data, the privacy concerns raised in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook scandal, and potential steps to protect consumers.

Witnesses:

To Be Announced

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

2:30 p.m.

Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, and Data Security

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Senator Presses Federal Regulator on Spontaneous Kia and Hyundai Fires

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A key U.S. senator wants to know what’s behind a series of spontaneous non-collision-related fires affecting Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

In a letter sent today to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) called on the agency to detail what steps it’s taking to address the fires, including whether a safety defect investigation is being conducted.

A review undertaken by the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) recently found that there were more than 120 complaints filed with NHTSA involving non-collision-related fires in Kia and Hyundai vehicles. 

“Spontaneous fires are serious safety hazards and should not be taken lightly,” wrote Nelson, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee that oversees the automotive industry.  “We have to find out what is causing these fires and what can be done to prevent them.  Owners need to know if their vehicles are safe.” 

According to news reports and NHTSA complaint filings, there have been at least 23 incidents of spontaneous fires in Florida involving Kia and Hyundai vehicles since 2014.  

Just last month, an Ocala woman was forced to pull over and flee her 2012 Kia Sorento after it caught fire while she was driving on I-4.  That incident came on the heels of two separate fires involving parked and unoccupied Kia vehicles in the Tampa area this spring.   

Click here to read Nelson’s letter.

Oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing entitled, “Oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.  As part of the Committee’s oversight responsibilities, this hearing will examine the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and the agency’s role in managing federal spectrum and representing U.S. interests with the global internet multistakeholder community. Additionally, the hearing will look at how NTIA is working to deliver a modern National Broadband Map capable of providing better service availability data, along with other major policy issues before NTIA.

Witness:

  • The Honorable David J. Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator, NTIA, U.S. Department of Commerce

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, June 13, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee 

This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

The Impact of Category Management on the Small Business Industrial Base

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 11:00am

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “The Impact of Category Management on the Small Business Industrial Base.”  The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:00 A.M. on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building

This hearing continues the Committee’s longstanding oversight examining the use of contract bundling and consolidation in the federal procurement system.  Category management, at its core, can be distilled to contract bundling and consolidation.  The hearing will examine the Administration’s approach to utilizing category management principles in the context of past Executive Branch initiatives and will discuss the impact the current approach may have on small businesses and the industrial base. 

Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witness List
Ms. Shirley Bailey
Co-Owner, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
GCC Technologies, LLC
Oakland, MD

Mr. Alan Chvotkin
Executive Vice President & Counsel
Professional Services Council
Arlington, VA

Ms. Beth Laurie Strum
Vice President of Business Development
IT WORKS
Washington, DC
* Testifying on behalf of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce

<p>Welcome to today&rsquo;s hearing on

Welcome to today’s hearing on oversight of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

This is Assistant Secretary Redl’s first appearance before the Committee since his nomination was approved by the Senate last November.

We welcome you back and look forward to hearing what NTIA has accomplished under your leadership and what you have planned for the future.

As you know, it is NTIA’s mission to advise the President on domestic and international telecommunications and information policy issues.

This makes NTIA a major driver in fulfilling the Commerce Department’s mission to promote job creation and economic growth while making sure the Federal government has the spectrum it needs.

NTIA has a critical role to play in ensuring that Americans benefit from next-generation telecommunications technology and the United States maintains its leadership in such technology.

Maintaining American leadership will require the identification of more spectrum for next-generation services, both licensed and unlicensed, including spectrum currently allocated for federal use.

It’s important that we build upon the success of the recently enacted MOBILE NOW Act, which I sponsored along with Ranking Member Nelson, to ensure that spectrum will be available for new technologies, including 5G.

This will make it easier to deploy networks that deliver better, faster internet to rural areas and across the country.

Earlier this year, NTIA took a good first step and announced that it has identified 100 megahertz of spectrum—the 3450 to 3550 megahertz band—for potential repurposing for commercial wireless innovation.

I am glad to see NTIA move so quickly on a priority outlined in MOBILE NOW.

But as I have stated many times, MOBILE NOW was just a down payment.

There is much more to do to ensure that the American economy reaps the benefits of next-generation telecommunications.

We will look to you to help ensure that America’s spectrum resources are used efficiently.

I look forward to hearing how you intend to do more, and whether NTIA has all the tools it needs to get the job done.

Of course, identifying and freeing up spectrum is only part of the equation.

Knowing what parts of the country are unserved and prioritizing deployment in those areas is crucial to closing the digital divide.

Mapping broadband availability relies on the quality of broadband data.

Since the initial deployment of broadband in the 1990s, two federal agencies have implemented broadband data mapping initiatives—NTIA and the Federal Communications Commission.

While each agency has identified areas of the nation in need of further development, everyone can agree that such mapping can and should be improved.

That is why, earlier this year, NTIA was appropriated funds to deliver a modern National Broadband Map, which hopefully will provide more accurate mapping of the current state of broadband access across the nation.

On the topic of deployment, FirstNet, which operates as an independent authority within NTIA, has awarded a 25-year, $6.5 billion contract to AT&T to build out a nationwide public safety network.

As of January 19, 2018, all states, five territories, and the District of Columbia had opted into the public safety network.

FirstNet has established a schedule with goals for deploying the network and milestones for public safety user adoption and I am very pleased to see that the Oglala Sioux Police Department in South Dakota is leading the way in implementing FirstNet.

The state-of-the-art technology will allow the Oglala Sioux officers to better serve and protect tribal members and the public generally.

I am interested to hear what oversight efforts NTIA is conducting to ensure FirstNet meets its deployment and adoption goals throughout the country to safeguard the speedy and efficient deployment of this network, especially in rural and hard-to-reach areas.

Our first responders deserve nothing less.

Also, NTIA and the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have been jointly tasked with providing $115 million in grants to support the implementation of Next Generation 9-1-1 nationwide.

It is important that joint undertakings between differing agencies run smoothly.

Getting the most effective use out of taxpayer dollars for this critical service is something the Commerce Committee is paying close attention to and hopes to hear an update about today.

Finally, on the issue of Internet governance, as of October 1, 2016, NTIA allowed its contracts with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to expire, transferring NTIA’s stewardship role and procedural authority over key Internet domain name functions to a global Internet multistakeholder community.

Earlier this month, NTIA released a Notice of Inquiry seeking comments on “its international Internet policy priorities.”

I am interested to hear about how NTIA can leverage its resources and expertise to ensure the growth and openness of the internet.

Again, I want to thank Assistant Secretary Redl for being here and now I turn it over to the Ranking Member.

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

I want to welcome Assistant Secretary Redl.  Oversight of the entities within our jurisdiction, such as NTIA, is one of the most important responsibilities of this committee.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate your commitment that we would have regular oversight hearings.  In that vein, I think we are due for an oversight hearing that includes all sitting members of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).   

FCC Chairman Pai has initiated the most aggressive deregulatory – and in my opinion, anti-consumer – agenda in the history of the FCC.  Those actions demand the scrutiny of this committee.  I look forward to that oversight hearing soon.

Back to Mr. Redl.  You are the principal advisor to the president on telecommunications and information policy issues.  You speak with the voice of the administration on these issues both domestically and internationally.  This committee has a number of questions for you.

First, we have been told for over a year that infrastructure was a key priority of this administration – and that broadband would be an essential component of an infrastructure plan. I support this fully.  

While the state of Florida has been blessed with some of the nation’s most advanced internet networks, the reality is that in places from rural Dixie, Levy and Gilchrist counties to the heart of Jacksonville, constituents and businesses still lack access to quality, affordable, high-speed internet access.  

These areas are being left behind.  We need to hear from you as to why this administration has no plan to provide real, tangible support for internet network construction in these areas.

Second, this administration seems to have dismissed the concerns many in the Senate, the intelligence community and the nation have about the potential threat posed to our national security by Huawei and ZTE.  The administration’s simply needs to revert back to a ban on ZTE.  

We need to hear how you respond to the grave concerns raised with respect to the effectiveness of the penalties levied on the company in lieu of the ban. 

Third, this administration’s relationships with our international colleagues appear to be at an all-time low.  These relationships are essential to your work with our partners to preserve a free and open internet, harmonize spectrum and establish basic norms for international telecommunications regulation.  

In particular, important decisions will be made during next year’s World Radiocommunication Conference regarding the international framework for next-generation wireless systems and satellite communications.  We also want to hear that our government can be trusted to uphold our end of any bargains you may reach in these international forums.

Finally, let me end by acknowledging the important work that the NTIA has performed under your leadership.  

Specifically, I am pleased that the national 9-1-1 program that you operate jointly with NHTSA is finally moving forward on its next generation 9-1-1 grant program.  As you know, Senator Klobuchar and I have introduced legislation to expand and enhance that grant program and help states and localities make next generation 9-1-1 systems a reality throughout the nation.  

Yesterday marked the second anniversary of the horrific Pulse nightclub attack.  Had the federal government helped states and localities deploy next generation 9-1-1 sooner, the brave men and women who manned the Orlando-area call centers would have had access to more advanced tools to respond to this tragedy.  For example, we know from reports that some of victims in the club who were afraid to make a voice call tried to text 9-1-1 but could not.

This is a national priority – lives are on the line.  I hope and expect that you will continue to work cooperatively with us as we try to advance this proposal.

And thank you again, Mr. Redl, for your willingness to serve the public in this vital role. 

Small Business Committee Examines the Impact of Category Management on the Small Business Industrial Base

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 06/13/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Committee examined the Executive Branch’s approach to utilizing Category Management (CM) principles and the impact it may have on small businesses and the industrial base. CM are a set of procurement approaches attempting to eliminate redundancies, increase efficiency, and deliver value all while saving the taxpayers money.

“While Category Management can be useful in tracking the federal government’s purchasing habits in order to identify efficiencies and keep contracting costs down, the proposed plan may be problematic,” said Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “There is great concern among the small business community that recent efforts steering spending towards “best-in-class” contracting vehicles will restrict competition and significantly reduce opportunities for the majority of small businesses.” 

What the Experts Said

“No one would disagree with the goals of efficient government buying and saving the taxpayer money. However, we believe Category Management comes at a cost,” said Ms. Shirley Bailey, CEO and Managing Member of MSC Management Services, LLC in Oakland, MD, testifying on behalf of the HUBZone Contractors National Council. “Fewer small business awards not only limits the supply of vendors to the government, the ripple effect limits the ability of small businesses to grow through federal contracting.”

“PSC [Professional Services Council] cautioned then [five years ago], and we do so again today, that more needs to be done to prevent unintended consequences on the small and other-than-small companies that are—or that are capable of—meeting the government’s needs,” said Mr. Alan Chvotkin, Executive Vice President and Counsel at the Professional Services Council in Arlington, VA. “Since then, and particularly as CM has transitioned from what began as a management technique into a procurement policy, there have been negative consequences for the supplier base and for the marketplace.”

“In its current form, the Best-in-Class acquisition process picks winners and losers without assuring full and fair competition, thereby locking out thousands of small businesses from the very contract opportunities that were guaranteed to us in 1978 through Public Law 95-507, ‘Amendments to the Small Business Investment Act,’” said Ms. Beth Laurie Strum, Vice President of Business Development at Volanno in Washington, DC, testifying on behalf of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “The abrupt transformation of the federal acquisition process to Best-in-Class vehicles will have a crippling effect on small business competitive opportunities.”

“Many of my small business colleagues have spoken with me directly in terms of the Category Management approach as well as previous strategic sourcing initiatives.  Across the board, they are overwhelmingly opposed.  Anything that winnows down the ability to compete on a fair and level playing field is challenging across the industrial base,” said Ms. ML Mackey, CEO of Beacon Interactive Systems in Waltham, MA, testifying on behalf of the National Defense Industrial Association. “Getting best in breed products and services as rapidly as possible to the men and women who protect us is of paramount importance. Unfortunately, the contract approach prescribed by Category Management will have an opposite and deleterious effect on this goal.”

Click HERE to read full testimonies and HERE to watch full hearing video.

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