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NASA Missions and Programs: Update and Future Plans

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “NASA Missions and Programs: Update and Future Plans,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. This hearing will focus on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) progress on major missions, including the Artemis Program. The hearing will also provide an opportunity to discuss mission challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and how the agency is adapting to meet those challenges.

Witness:

  • The Honorable Jim Bridenstine, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing

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

 

In order to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Office of the Attending Physician, seating for credentialed press will be limited throughout the course of the hearing. Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream. 

 

How COVID-19 is Impacting Small Businesses Across the Food System

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 09/30/2020 - 10:00am
The Committee on Small Business will hold a hybrid hearing titled: “How COVID-19 is Impacting Small Businesses Across the Food System.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, September 30, 2020 in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Participating members can also join remotely via CISCO Webex.

This hearing will give members a chance to hear about the role of small businesses within our food production, distribution, and retail systems, the challenges they are facing, and how federal programs are addressing these challenges.

To view a livestream of the hearing, please click here

Hearing Notice 

Hearing Memo 

Witnesses
Ms. Kimberly Gorton
President and CEO
Slade Gorton & Co., Inc.
Boston, MA
*Testifying on behalf of the National Fisheries Institute

Mr. Jimmy Wright
President
Wright’s Market
Opelika, AL
*Testifying on behalf of the National Grocers Association

Mr. Rob Larew
President
National Farmers Union
Washington, DC

Mr. Collin Castore
Owner, Seventh Son Brewing
President, Ohio Craft Brewers Association (OCBA)
Columbus, OH

A Review of PPP Forgiveness

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 09/25/2020 - 9:30am
The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access will hold a hybrid hearing entitled “A Review of PPP Forgiveness.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 9:30 AM (EST) on Friday, September 25, 2020 and will take place in room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Members who wish to participate remotely may do so via Cisco WebEx, information to be provided separately.

The hearing will provide an overview of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness process and allow Members an opportunity to hear from lenders, borrowers, and other stakeholders about their experiences with the forgiveness process. The committee will examine loan forgiveness guidance and proposals for simplifying the loan forgiveness process for certain borrowers.

To view a livestream of the hearing, please click here. 

Hearing Notice 

Hearing Memo 

Witnesses
Ms. Lynn G. Ozer
President, SBA Lending
Fulton Bank
Pottstown, PA

Ms. Amy Bonfig
Owner
Little Saints Academy
St. Joseph, MN

Mr. Jim Parker
CEO & Director
Riverview Studios
Bordentown, NJ

Mr. Pete Patel
President & Chief Executive Officer
Promise Hotels
Tulsa, OK 





An Evaluation of FirstNet’s Progress

U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, will convene a hearing titled, “An Evaluation of FirstNet’s Progress,” at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2020. The hearing will examine FirstNet and AT&T’s progress on building a nationwide public safety broadband network. The hearing will also review the Government Accountability Office’s most recent oversight report on FirstNet that was released in January 2020. 

 Witnesses: 

  • Captain Tony Harrison, Sheriff’s Office, Pennington County, South Dakota
  • Ms. Karima Holmes, Director, Unified Communications 
  • Mr. Edward Parkinson, Chief Executive Officer, FirstNet Authority
  • Mr. Jason Porter, Senior Vice President, FirstNet Program at AT&T 

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Thursday, September 24, 2020
10:00 a.m.
Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet

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

*In order to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Office of the Attending Physician, seating for credentialed press will be limited throughout the course of the hearing. Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream.

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The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development will hold a hybrid hearing entitled “Paycheck Protection Program: An Examination of Loan Forgiveness, SBA Legacy Systems, and Inaccurate Data.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 AM (EST) on Thursday, September 24, 2020 and will take place in room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Members who wish to participate remotely may do so via Cisco WebEx, information to be provided separately.

The SBA launched the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to provide an incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. However, SBA’s legacy technology systems were not fully equipped to handle the unprecedented level of applicants, resulting in a number of technical issues with the implementation. Members of the Committee will have an opportunity to address these issues and the related concerns about the accuracy of the recently released PPP data, as well as learn more about SBA’s new system for PPP f orgiveness. 


To view a livestream of the hearing, please click here

Hearing Notice 

Hearing Memo 

Witnesses 

Mr. William Manger
Small Business Administration Chief of Staff
Associate Administrator, Office of Capital Access
Small Business Administration
Washington, DC


Revisiting the Need for Federal Data Privacy Legislation

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “Revisiting the Need for Federal Data Privacy Legislation,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. This hearing will examine the current state of consumer data privacy and legislative efforts to provide baseline data protections for all Americans. The hearing will also examine lessons learned from the implementation of state privacy laws in the U.S. and the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation, as well as how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected data privacy.   

Witnesses:

  • The Honorable Julie Brill, Former Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable William Kovacic, Former Chairman and Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable Jon Leibowitz, Former Chairman and Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable Maureen Ohlhausen, Former Commissioner and Acting Chairman, Federal Trade Commission

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, September 23, 2020
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing

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

In order to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Office of the Attending Physician, seating for credentialed press will be limited throughout the course of the hearing. Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream.

WLF Urges Ninth Circuit to Vacate Nationwide Injunction

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 09/23/2020 - 9:00am

“A court that issues a nationwide injunction is not resolving a judicial controversy but rather is engaged in policymaking.”
—Cory Andrews, WLF Vice President of Litigation

Click HERE for WLF’s brief.

(Washington, DC)—Washington Legal Foundation (WLF) today asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to vacate a wildly overbroad district court order that blocks all new oil line and gas line projects, nationwide.

The case arises from a suit by environmental activists over the dredge and fill that companies sometimes place in navigable waters as they construct utility lines. The underlying issue is whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers committed a procedural violation of the Endangered Species Act when it relied on nationwide permit 12 (NWP 12)—a streamlined protocol for permitting such dredge and fill activity—to allow the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

But in siding with the plaintiffs, the district court took an extraordinary step. Although the plaintiffs had challenged the use of NWP 12 for only the Keystone XL project, the district court vacated NWP 12 in full and enjoined its use for any project, nationwide. In subsequent briefing, even the plaintiffs encouraged the court to narrow its remedy. While the court later limited the scope of its order to “the constriction of new oil and gas pipelines,” that sweeping relief still lacks any legal basis.

As WLF contends in its amicus brief, the plaintiffs here lacked standing to obtain nationwide relief. Under Article III, a court may only resolve the case or controversy between the parties before it. A lone district court judge has no authority to block implementation of nationwide governmental policy. Nor did the plaintiffs attempt to show—nor could they—that they are somehow injured by every new oil and gas project approved under NWP 12. Rather than vacate NWP 12 and issue a nationwide injunction, the trial court should have simply remanded to the agency and its experts to fix the supposed procedural defect.

The post WLF Urges Ninth Circuit to Vacate Nationwide Injunction appeared first on Washington Legal Foundation.

Categories: Latest News

Committee Announces Hearing on NASA Missions and Programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “NASA Missions and Programs: Update and Future Plans,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. This hearing will focus on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) progress on major missions, including the Artemis Program. The hearing will also provide an opportunity to discuss mission challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and how the agency is adapting to meet those challenges.

Witness:

  • The Honorable Jim Bridenstine, Administrator, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing

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

In order to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Office of the Attending Physician, seating for credentialed press will be limited throughout the course of the hearing. Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream.

Ranking Member Cantwell Warns of Privacy Implications of New SCOTUS Justice, Urges Passage of Privacy Bill With Strong Consumer Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C.–U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) reiterated the need for federal privacy legislation at today’s Commerce Committee Hearing. 

Ranking Member Cantwell said, The Supreme Court discussion that we're now having, I think will launch us into a very broad discussion of privacy rights and where they exist within the Constitution. To me this is incredibly important.”

The Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) that Ranking Member Cantwell introduced last year gives Americans control over their personal data; establishes strict standards for the collection, use, sharing, and protection of consumer data; protects civil rights; and penalizes companies that fail to meet data protection standards. The legislation also codifies the rights of individuals to pursue claims against entities that violate their privacy.

In the hearing, Cantwell criticized how other privacy bills do not fully protect consumers in the way COPRA does: “These bills allow companies to maintain the status quo, burying important disclosure information in long contracts, hiding where consumer data is sold, and changing the use of consumer data without their consent...Most strikingly, these bills would actually weaken consumer rights around the country by preempting stronger state laws.”

During the Q&A portion of the hearing, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reiterated the importance of consumers being able to enforce their own rights saying, “As I said in quoting our state senator, a right without a remedy is really not a right at all, because you can have rights on paper but if you can never enforce them, because the one enforcer, the state attorney general, is too consumed with other enforcement actions, then your right, essentially, it’s in a privacy desert. And so, we have to make sure that consumers have their day in court, and they can enforce that right. And that's why it's so essential that along with our public enforcers, that we give consumers that opportunity. 

I guarantee you, consumers would prefer to have the California Attorney General move their case instead of them. But at the end of the day, if we don't have the capacity, then some of those consumers will take up the opportunity if they aren't given the right to go to court.”

The full text of the Consumer Online Privacy Rights Act (COPRA) can be found HERE

one-pager on the legislation can be found HERE

Ranking Member Cantwell has long been a leading advocate for online protections for American consumers. As Congress has worked to develop privacy legislation, she has repeatedly called for comprehensive privacy protections. She has led the fight to protect and restore net neutrality rules to keep a free and open internet. She has also championed the importance of investing in cybersecurity measures throughout the U.S. economy and pushed federal agencies like the FTC to take a more robust role in protecting Americans from privacy threats. 

Lastly, Senator Cantwell highlighted the importance of federal support for local journalism, and announced that the Commerce Committee Democrats will soon release a staff report describing in detail the dire economic straits that our critically important local journalism sector is facing. “I think local journalism in a COVID crisis is proving that it's valued information with the correct information on our local communities, and I think that this is something we need to take into consideration as we consider privacy laws and we consider these issues moving forward.”

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U.S. Coast Guard Capabilities for Safeguarding National Interests and Promoting Economic Security in the Arctic

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, chairman of the Subcommittee on Security, will convene a hearing titled, “U.S. Coast Guard Capabilities for Safeguarding National Interests and Promoting Economic Security in the Arctic,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 22, 2020. This hearing will examine how the United States Coast Guard (USCG) 2019 Arctic Strategic Outlook is being resourced through acquisition plans, training exercises, and infrastructure investments and the importance of USCG presence in the Arctic as commercial sea traffic increases. The hearing will also address the security implications of Chinese and Russian interests in the Arctic and the current state of the USCG’s icebreaking capacity.  

Witness Panel 1: 

  • Admiral Charles Ray, Vice Commandant, United States Coast Guard

Witness Panel 2: 

  • The Honorable Sharon E. Burke, Senior Advisor, International Security Program and Resource Security Program, New America
  • Major General Randy “Church” Kee, United States Air Force, Retired, Executive Director, Arctic Domain Awareness Center 
  • Ms. Stephanie Madsen, Executive Director, At-sea Processors Association 

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, September 22, 2020
2:30 p.m.
Subcommittee on Security

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

*In order to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Office of the Attending Physician, seating for credentialed press will be limited throughout the course of the hearing. Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream.

Wicker, Collins Introduce Legislation to Provide Additional Relief to Air Transportation Sector

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, today introduced the Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act of 2020. The legislation would extend the airline worker Payroll Support Program (PSP) through March 2021.  

“The CARES Act successfully saved thousands of jobs that support the airline industry and provided these businesses with some breathing space after the drastic drop in air travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wicker. “However, the market has not turned around as much as we had hoped, and additional relief is needed to prevent more than 60,000 aviation sector employees from losing their jobs beginning October 1. This legislation would extend the critical Payroll Support Program to provide support for passenger air carriers, cargo air carriers, and aviation contractors. It would also preserve our nationwide service by requiring airlines to maintain routes as a condition for receiving assistance. Maintaining a strong national air transportation system is critical for today’s economy and the continued recovery.”

“The pandemic has had a devastating toll on the aviation industry, putting many American jobs at risk.  The Payroll Support Program that was included in the CARES Act saved over 700,000 of these jobs.  Our legislation to extend this lifeline would help frontline employees to continue to receive a paycheck and require airlines to maintain flights to every community they serve,” said Collins.  “As the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, I am committed to ensuring that all facets of our transportation network, including buses, motorcoaches, passenger ferries, and public transportation, have the resources they need to survive the current economic crisis.”

The Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act would: 

  • Extend PSP through March 31, 2021;
  • Provide $28 billion in assistance for passenger air carriers, cargo air carriers, and airline contractors;
  • $11 billion in new appropriations
  • $17.4 billion in funding repurposed from unspent CARES Act PSP funds and loans
  • Preserve national air service;
  • Include CARES Act taxpayer protections, including requirements that some of the assistance be paid back as loans with interest.

The Air Carrier Worker Support Extension Act contains a technical correction to the CARES Act PSP to align airline payroll expense calculations for smaller air carriers with the exact standards and criteria applied to larger air carriers. The new PSP would also allow some airlines an opportunity to request payroll support based a different time window than was used under the CARES Act. This would ensure those passenger airlines that added jobs or increased worker wages and benefits during the later period would receive a more equitable amount of payroll support than they received under the first PSP. 

Click here to read the bill.

Senators Cantwell, Scott Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Charge TSA With Implementing Temperature Check Technology Nationwide

WASHINGTON, D.C.?–?U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to establish temperature screenings at airport checkpoints to promote safe air travel during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.  

The Cantwell-Scott bill will charge the TSA with deploying a temperature check program across the United States by first testing technology in various scenarios before final rollout.

Said Senator Maria Cantwell, “Americans deserve all the available tools to fight COVID-19. For workers and the traveling public, a temperature check program provides important data. The legislation I introduced would require TSA to use innovative temperature screening technology to better protect passenger and worker health, and build public trust in the aviation system.”

Senator Rick Scott said, “As our economy re-opens and Americans begin traveling more, we have to do everything we can to make sure travel is safe. We also have to ensure consumers are protected from unfair pricing tactics from airlines. Since the beginning of the pandemic, I’ve been calling for temperature checks for passengers of mass transit as a common sense way to help keep Americans safe and healthy. This legislation will enable temperature checks while also ensuring airlines are flexible with customers who get sick following the purchase of a flight. If passengers are not allowed to fly due to a fever, airlines will have to work with the customer to reschedule or cancel the flight at no cost.”

Why temperature screening is important 

Because fever is a common indicator of many infectious diseases, the identification of fever through temperature (thermal) screening has been used around the world to identify and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, similar to how such screening was used during the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) pandemic in 2003, the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic in 2009, and the Ebola outbreak in 2014. The use of temperature checks can help address the current risk of COVID-19 and prepare the United States for future public health risks.

Says Dr. Hilary Godwin, Dean of Public Health at the University of Washington: “Developing and implementing guidelines – like temperature screening -- that promote safe air travel is critical to defeating the virus and smoothing the transition back to more regular travel levels. This is especially important to have in place, at the very least until we get more reliable rapid response testing or a vaccine. I’m glad to see Senators Cantwell and Scott put forth this bipartisan solution, and I hope Congress will pass it.” 

According to data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), more than 140 countries and territories world-wide have currently implemented temperature screenings, including eight of the top ten aviation markets by scheduled capacity – with the United States and Germany as the hold outs. International regulators, such as the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), and World Health Organization (WHO), have also included thermal screening as part of the combination of measures that can be implemented to manage the risk of COVID-19 in air travel. Temperature screening is more than detection, these checks can serve to dissuade sick persons from traveling. 

How temperature-screening technology works 

Temperature checks can be deployed using contactless thermal camera-based systems that automatically screen large numbers of travelers passing through existing security checkpoints. An individual can expect a seamless thermal imaging screening experience because the systems are capable of detecting an individual’s temperature using cameras that relay information to monitored video screens that highlight individuals with elevated temperatures. Once detected, individuals are subject to secondary screening, typically conducted by medical personnel in a private or isolated location.  

The programs protect for individual privacy by limiting the information and images captured through the screening process and the length of time the images are retained.  

Screening programs are already underway in the United States as well. The Hawaii Department of TransportationLos Angeles World Airports (LAWA), and the Port of Seattle, amongst others, have piloted or deployed temperature screening programs to detect individuals with elevated temperatures. The pilot established by the Cantwell-Scott bill would support these ongoing programs with additional data and ensure consistency across airports nationwide.

In a program announced in July, Canada began a phased approach to implement temperature checks at airports, administered by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority—the Canadian counterpart to the Transportation Security Administration. So far, the Canadian program has focused on touchless technology options that facilitate mass screening while managing any privacy concerns. 

Singapore is another country that successfully implemented temperature screenings early on in the coronavirus pandemic based on its experience using temperature checks as a health screening measure as far back as 2003 during the SARS pandemic. Singapore has implemented temperature checks well beyond air travel and uses them at entry to workplaces and elsewhere. The Government Technology Agency of Singapore (GovTech) has developed an automated screening solution, which can allow for a self-service temperature taking and eliminates the need for additional resources to conduct the screening. 

The Cantwell-Scott Fly Safe and Healthy Act of 2020 (S. 4623)           

The Cantwell-Scott legislation requires the Transportation Security Administration within 30 days to establish a pilot program to test temperature screening technology, building on international best practices for such screenings at airports:  

  • The 120-day pilot program would be conducted at TSA checkpoints at airports that represent diverse operating conditions, including those with various passenger throughputs.  
  • As part of the program, the Administrator would have to address protection of personal and medical privacy issues, exceptions for individuals who may have a fever unrelated to COVID-19, and for accommodating individuals with disabilities or observing certain religious practices;
  • The Administrator would have the flexibility to test various technologies, and would be required to ensure Transportation Security Officers are properly trained on how to use the technology and program procedures.
  • No later than 90 days after the pilot program concludes, TSA would be required to issue a policy to deploy program more broadly at airports throughout the United States until the end of the COVID-19 public health emergency.  
  • TSA would be permitted to partner with universities or academic institutions, national laboratories, public health authorities, or private entities to develop, evaluate, or improve technology for the purpose of detecting fevers or for conducting secondary screening.  
  • The Secretary of Transportation would be required to issue a rule to require airlines to notify passengers that they will be subject to temperature screening and to encourage them to not come to the airport if they have a fever. 

Any passenger who is denied entry to the sterile area of the airport—and therefore not allowed to fly—would be entitled to cancel or change their flight at no cost to them. Airport or airline employees with fevers not permitted in the sterile area of the airport would be subject to their employer’s leave policies and procedures.

Temperature screenings have other benefits as well 

In addition to the health and safety benefits, using advanced technology to check the temperatures of travelers and workers in an airport can help more people feel safe and confident while traveling.  

Currently in the United States, the U.S. Travel Association reports that 58% of leisure travelers said they planned to “stay-cation” rather than book flights for the remainder of the year. Looking forward, 55% of respondents told IATA they do not plan to travel at all in 2020. Destination Analysts, a market research company, found almost three quarters of respondents were personally concerned with contracting COVID-19; nearly half would replace airline travel with road trips; close to a third are not planning to travel by air before April 2021; and critically, only 18.5% felt safe flying.  

In a recent IATA survey of travelers, however, 80% indicated that temperature checks make them feel safer when traveling. Countries that employ temperature checks can experience a relative rebound in air travel. For example, China and Japan, countries with lengthy experience in using these screenings for pandemics, are at 92% and 55% scheduled capacity levels, as compared to the beginning of 2020. In fact, reports indicate that some Asian carriers will return to profitability in the third quarter. Within Europe, Germany (45%) and Sweden (33%) are not doing as well as France (61%) and Italy (56%), which are performing these checks. Other major aviation markets – United Kingdom, Russia, India, Turkey, and Indonesia – are employing thermal screenings.

According to estimates from Airlines for America and Compass Lexecon, a 10 percent increase in air travel demand could drive more than $1.533 billion in airline salaries, wages, and benefits over the course of three months. In turn, this increase in demand will create approximately 182,000 jobs in total – 45,620 directly at the airline, 74,746 across the supply chain, and 61,230 jobs more broadly, as additional spending makes its way through the economy. Along with these 182,000 additional jobs, as much as $4.8 billion in monetary benefits could be injected into the economy. 

section-by-section of the Fly Safe and Healthy Act of 2020 can be found here

Q&A sheet can be found here.

The following are quotes from additional stakeholders supporting temperature screening prior to traveling: 

Snohomish Health District Health Officer Dr. Chris Spitters“In addition to passengers, staff and other airport visitors self-screening and staying home if any symptoms develop, temperature checks could provide an added layer of defense against transmission in the air travel system. This is also something that the Snohomish Health District does at our headquarters for all staff and visitors. It may not catch every case of COVID boarding aircrafts, but it does add some additional protection above and beyond the existing strategies for maintaining passenger and crew safety with respect to COVID.”

National Safety Council President Lorraine M. Martin: “Screening must be a critical component of our collective response to the pandemic. We applaud this bipartisan action to keep both workers and the traveling public as safe as possible.”  

Transport Workers Union of America President John Samuelsen: “The only way our economy will recover from this pandemic is by ensuring the health of our transportation systems. Keeping airports and airlines free from COVID-19 will restore the faith of the travelling public in our airspace and save lives. This bipartisan bill, along with immediate federal aid, are essential steps for our country to climb out of the pandemic recession and back to prosperity. The Transport Workers Union applauds Senator Cantwell and Senator Scott for leading this effort on behalf of aviation workers and travelers.”

Association of Flight Attendants International President Sara Nelson: "The threat to U.S. aviation is the virus itself — the threat is both health and economic. We need a federal plan including health screenings to build confidence in air travel while providing continuous funding to keep aviation workers on the job, connected to our healthcare, and providing essential service to all of our communities. Aviation safety and security has always been a layered approach. We must take action to tackle the totality of the crisis."

AFL-CIO Transportation Trades Department President Larry Willis: "Aviation will never get back to normal until passengers feel safe flying, and until there are meaningful federal health and safety standards. This bill takes an important step toward safe flying during a pandemic, and does so without compromising the core security responsibilities of the TSA. Aviation, and the good jobs found in this industry, will be critical to the recovery of our economy, and we look forward to working with Congress to advance this legislation as well as meaningful economic relief for airline workers."

Port of Seattle Commission President Peter Steinbrueck: “The Port of Seattle deeply appreciates Senator Cantwell’s leadership on ensuring a consistent nationwide approach to keeping passengers and employees healthy and safe during the current pandemic. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), we have implemented a wide range of new [email protected] protocols, but we rely on the federal government to drive solutions throughout the entire air travel system. Directing TSA to pilot temperature screening will help us learn more about how this technology fits into a multi-layered approach to protect our customers and workers.” 

Airlines for America President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio“We are pleased to see Senator Scott and Ranking Member Cantwell’s attention?to this issue. U.S. carriers have been supporting the introduction of temperature checks as an added layer of protection during this public health crisis since June. U.S. airlines have implemented multiple layers of measures to help mitigate the spread of Covid-19, and we continue to believe that temperature checks are a key measure in assuring the traveling public and airline employees that the federal government is prioritizing their safety and well-being.” 

Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Jamie L. Rhee: "With more and more travelers returning to the skies, I applaud the Fly Safe and Healthy Act for creating a TSA pilot program, which would further enhance Chicago’s multilayered approach to airport safety and security -- as well as passenger well-being. These are uncertain times, and it has never been more important to provide reassurance to travelers that their journey will be a safe one -- a process that begins well before the airplane doors are closed. This program would nicely complement the robust efforts CDA and our many airport partners have already undertaken to provide the safest possible environment."

U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President Tori Barnes: “The decline in travel has drained $2 billion per day from the U.S. economy and cost millions of jobs since the start of the pandemic, and restarting the travel sector is pivotal to a broader recovery,” said U.S. Travel Association Executive Vice President for Public Affairs and Policy Tori Emerson Barnes. “While safeguarding health must continue to be the priority, travel ought to be possible with solid protocols in place. This bill’s temperature check pilot program is a prudent step in exploring the framework that will allow travel to more broadly reopen.”

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Wicker, Thune, Fischer, Blackburn Introduce Consumer Data Privacy Legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, Deb. Fischer, R-Neb., chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., today introduced the Setting an American Framework to Ensure Data Access, Transparency, and Accountability (SAFE DATA) Act. The legislation would provide Americans with more choice and control over their data and direct businesses to be more transparent and accountable for their data practices. The bill would also enhance the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority and provide additional resources to enforce the Act.

“As COVID-19 increases activity online and opportunities to misuse personal data continue to surge, it is time to pass a uniform, national privacy law,” said Wicker. “More than ever, we need to stop bad actors and restore consumers’ trust in the internet marketplace. Today I am introducing a bill that would provide all Americans with baseline protections and more transparency, choice, and control over their data. It would also strengthen the FTC’s ability to hold businesses accountable when using data for nefarious purposes. I encourage my colleagues to support this legislation so that we can instill confidence in consumers and in the long-term sustainability of our digital economy.” 

“Today’s introduction of the SAFE DATA Act is the right step toward a more comprehensive online transparency and reform effort, and, importantly, the legislation sets a single national data privacy standard for consumers,” said Thune. “I’m glad the broader legislation includes my Filter Bubble Transparency Act, legislation that would make it easier for internet platform users to understand the potential manipulation that exists with secret online algorithms. Thanks to Chairman Wicker for his action on this issue, and I look forward to bringing more attention to this bill at next week’s Commerce Committee hearing.”

“As COVID-19 has shifted social and economic activities to the internet, it is more important than ever that all Americans have transparency and control regarding their personal data,” said Fischer. “I am proud to cosponsor this legislation, which would create a comprehensive federal data privacy framework that restores consumer trust and sets guardrails for responsible data use. The bill also includes my bipartisan DETOUR Act with Senator Warner to protect consumers against deceptive user interfaces online known as ‘dark patterns.’”

“Americans need to be able to trust that their personal information and presence online, which I call the ‘Virtual You,’ will be protected,” said Blackburn. “I am pleased that the legislation we are introducing today includes key tenets of my BROWSER Act, requiring Big Tech companies to provide users with clear notice of their privacy policies and the ability to opt-in to the collection of sensitive information and to opt-out of the collection of non-sensitive information. The Federal Trade Commission is the right entity to enforce these rules and ensures we have a consistent national law regarding online privacy. The SAFE DATA Act is an important next step in giving users more control over their data and strengthening the FTC’s ability to respond to harmful changes in technology.”

The SAFE DATA Act would: 

Provide Americans with more choice and control over their data by:

  • Requiring businesses to allow consumers to access, correct, delete, or port their data; 
  • Prohibiting businesses from processing or transferring consumers’ sensitive data without their consent; 
  • Prohibiting businesses from denying consumers products or services for exercising their privacy rights; 
  • Minimizing the amount of consumer data businesses can collect, process, and retain; 
  • Limiting secondary uses of consumer data without their consent; 
  • Establishing uniform data protections across the country enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general;

Direct businesses to be more transparent and accountable for their data practices by: 

  • Requiring businesses to disclose a privacy policy to consumers detailing their data collection, processing, and transfer activities, and notify consumers of any material changes to those activities;
  • Requiring businesses to conduct privacy impact assessments of data processing activities that may present a heightened risk of harm to consumers; 
  • Requiring businesses to secure consumers’ data and maintain internal controls and reporting structures to assess data privacy risks to consumers; and
  • Requiring online platforms to be transparent about their use of secret algorithms.

Strengthen the FTC’s ability to respond to potentially harmful changes in technology and hold businesses accountable for misusing consumers’ data by: 

  • Authorizing the FTC to develop new rules to expand categories of sensitive data;
  • Requiring the FTC to share any information with the appropriate Executive or State agency if it obtains information that a business has processed or transferred consumer data in a way that violates Federal anti-discrimination laws; 
  • Requiring the FTC to maintain a data broker registry; 
  • Expanding the FTC’s authority to oversee the data use practices of common carriers and nonprofit organizations; and
  • Restoring the FTC’s authority to obtain monetary remedies for consumers. 

Click here to read the bill. 

In November 2019, the Commerce Committee released a staff draft of the SAFE DATA Act, originally entitled the United States Consumer Data Privacy Act. Since its release, the introduced bill has been updated to clarify definitions, expand the scope of data that is covered under the bill, and protect consumers from being manipulated by algorithms used by online platforms. The bill also would restore the FTC’s ability to obtain monetary remedies for consumers, which is an issue the agency has asked Congress to address.

Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Evaluation of FirstNet’s Progress

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, will convene a hearing titled, “An Evaluation of FirstNet’s Progress,” at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 24, 2020. The hearing will examine FirstNet and AT&T’s progress on building a nationwide public safety broadband network. The hearing will also review the Government Accountability Office’s most recent oversight report on FirstNet that was released in January 2020.  

Witnesses:  

  • Captain Tony Harrison, Sheriff’s Office, Pennington County, South Dakota
  • Ms. Karima Holmes, Director, Unified Communications 
  • Mr. Edward Parkinson, Chief Executive Officer, FirstNet Authority
  • Mr. Jason Porter, Senior Vice President, FirstNet Program at AT&T

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Thursday, September 24, 2020
10:00 a.m.
Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet

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

*In order to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Office of the Attending Physician, seating for credentialed press will be limited throughout the course of the hearing. Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream.

09/16/20 Markup

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 09/16/2020 - 10:30am

The Committee on Small Business will hold a hybrid markup of legislation to amend the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act. The markup will be held at 10:30 A.M. (EDT) on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, in Room 2175 of the Rayburn House Office Building and on Cisco WebEx.

The items that will be marked up include:

H.R. 7903, “To amend the Small Business Act to establish the Community Advantage Loan Program”

H.R. XXXX, “504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act of 2020”

H.R. XXXX, “504 Credit Risk Management Improvement Act of 2020”

H.R. XXXX, “Parity for HUBZone Appeals Act of 2020”

To view a livestream of the markup, please click here

Markup Notice 

 

Executive Session

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene an executive session on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 at 9.45 a.m. in Russell Senate Office Building 325 to consider the following legislative measures and nominations:

Agenda:

  1. S. 804, Empowering Rural Economies Through Alaska Native Sustainable Arts and Handicrafts Act, Sponsor: Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska
  2. S. 1626, Government Spectrum Valuation Act of 2019, Sponsor: Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
  3. S. 3831, Visit America Act, Sponsors: Sens. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii
  4. S. 3969, Aircraft Safety and Certification Reform Act of 2020, Sponsors: Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
  5. S. 4015, the Rural Connectivity Advancement Program, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
  6. S. 4159, Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Todd Young, R-Ind.
  7. S. 4286, Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act, Sponsors: Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
  8. S. 4462, Flood Level Observation, Operations, and Decision Support (FLOODS) Act, Sponsors: Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Gary Peters, D-Mich.
  9. S.4472, Ensuring Network Security Act, Sponsors: Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., Ron Johnson, R-Wis.
  10. S. XXXX, Forensic Science Research and Standards Act, Sponsors: Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
  11. Nomination of Eric Soskin, of Virginia, to be Inspector General, Department of Transportation
  12. Nomination of  Robert Primus, of New Jersey, to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board
  13. Nominations of Theodore Rokita, of Indiana, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors
  14. Nomination of Sarah Feinberg, of West Virginia, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors
  15. Nomination of Chris Koos, of Illinois, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors

*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details:

September 16, 2020
9.45 a.m.
Full Committee
Russell Senate Office Building 325 

A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov

*In order to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Office of the Attending Physician, seating for credentialed press will be limited throughout the course of the hearing. Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream.

Committee Announces Hearing on the Need for Federal Data Privacy Legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “Revisiting the Need for Federal Data Privacy Legislation,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 23, 2020. This hearing will examine the current state of consumer data privacy and legislative efforts to provide baseline data protections for all Americans. The hearing will also examine lessons learned from the implementation of state privacy laws in the U.S. and the E.U. General Data Protection Regulation, as well as how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected data privacy.   

Witnesses: 

  • The Honorable Julie Brill, Former Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable William Kovacic, Former Chairman and Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable Jon Leibowitz, Former Chairman and Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • The Honorable Maureen Ohlhausen, Former Commissioner and Acting Chairman, Federal Trade Commission

*Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, September 23, 2020
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Hearing

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

In order to maintain physical distancing as advised by the Office of the Attending Physician, seating for credentialed press will be limited throughout the course of the hearing. Due to current limited access to the Capitol complex, the general public is encouraged to view this hearing via the live stream. 

 

Committee Approves Seven Bills, Six Nominations

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation today approved seven bills and six nominations, which are now all subject to approval by the full Senate:

Bills and nominations considered are as follows (approved by voice vote unless otherwise noted): 

  1. S. 804, Empowering Rural Economies Through Alaska Native Sustainable Arts and Handicrafts Act, Sponsor: Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska
  2. S. 1626, Government Spectrum Valuation Act, Sponsor: Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah
  3. S. 3831, Visit America Act, Sponsors: Sens. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii
    1. Scott 2 (as modified)
  4. S. 4159, E-SIGN Modernization Act, Sponsors: Sens. John Thune, R-S.D., Jerry Moran, R-Kan., Todd Young, R-Ind. (Roll call vote: 14-12)
    Thune Substitute
  1. S. 4286, Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act, Sponsors: Sens. Edward Markey, D-Mass., Gary Peters, D-Mich., Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
    Markey Substitute
  1. S. 4462, Flood Level Observation, Operations, and Decision Support (FLOODS) Act, Sponsors: Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Gary Peters, D-Mich.
    Wicker Substitute
    1. Baldwin 1
    2. Wicker 1 to Baldwin 1 (as modified)
    3. Fischer 1
    4. Lee 1 (as modified)
    5. Scott 1 (as modified)
  1. S. 4568, Forensic Science Research and Standards Act, Sponsors: Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
    1. Lee 1
    2. Scott 1
    3. Scott 2 (as modified)
    4. Scott 3 (as modified)
  2. Nomination of Eric Soskin, of Virginia, to be Inspector General, Department of Transportation (Roll call vote: 14-12)
  3. Nomination of  Robert Primus, of New Jersey, to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board
  4. Nominations of Theodore Rokita, of Indiana, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors (Roll call vote: 14-12 [full term])
  5. Nomination of Sarah Feinberg, of West Virginia, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors
  6. Nomination of Chris Koos, of Illinois, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors

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