Construction Industry News

Commerce Announces Markup on October 4

Four Bills and Five Nominations on the Agenda...

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before we get started, I just want echo the chairman’s remarks on the tragic shooting in Las Vegas. On behalf of my fellow Floridians, and especially the victims’ families and survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting, our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone impacted in Sunday’s massacre.  

Looking at our markup agenda today, I’d first like to take note of the autonomous vehicles legislation. Having seen it firsthand, autonomous vehicle technology holds incredible promise for consumers and our nation overall.  I am glad we were able to come to an agreement on the preemption provision that will preserve the traditional partnership between the federal government and the fifty states that has successfully protected the American driving public for over fifty years. 

I am also pleased that the TSA Modernization Act is on the agenda. This legislation, among other things, expands the use of explosive detection canines, expedites deployment of security screening technology, and continues efforts to expand and promote enrollment in the TSA’s PreCheck program.  

Lastly, there are five nominations before us today.  Because of concerns I have with Ms. Buerkle’s renomination to the Consumer Product Safety Commission for another seven-year term, which would not start until October 2018, I have asked that it be considered separately from her nomination to be chair of the CPSC.  I will address those concerns in more detail when we get to that portion of today’s markup.

With that Mr. Chairman, I turn it back to you.

<p>Before we start today, I want to

Before we start today, I want to take a moment to send our thoughts and prayers to all of those impacted by Monday’s tragic events in Las Vegas.  It is hard to fathom the pain caused by this senseless crime.  Understandably, our Committee colleagues Senators Heller and Cortez Masto are back home in Nevada with their constituents.  Our hearts are with them.

Turning to today’s agenda, we will be considering three legislative items and five nominations.

The first item on today’s agenda is a measure that Senator Peters and I have been working on for some time, the AV Start Act, which is also cosponsored by Senators Blunt and Stabenow.   

Earlier this year, we released bipartisan principles that would guide our efforts to craft automated vehicle legislation.  The bill before us today puts those principles into practice. 

The AV START Act prioritizes safety by setting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA (Nit-suh), on an expedited path to long-term safety standards while providing new tools for near-term safety oversight.

The bill also promotes continued innovation, and reduces existing roadblocks, by enhancing NHTSA’s ability to update decades-old technology standards all at once, rather than undertaking potentially dozens of piecemeal rulemakings. 

The bill maintains the traditional balance between federal and state regulators, ensuring motor vehicle safety remains the federal government’s responsibility, while states retain their important role overseeing licensing, registration, insurance, and traffic enforcement.

The AV START Act also puts cybersecurity front and center, requiring all manufacturers to minimize cybersecurity risks and keep regulators informed through a mandatory, reviewable cybersecurity plan, and through mandatory submissions to NHTSA for each new automated vehicle.

Finally, the AV START Act directs the creation of best practices and guidelines on responsible consumer education and marketing so that consumers understand the capabilities and limitations of automated vehicle systems and advanced driver assistance systems.

More than 35,000 people are killed in car crashes on our nation’s roads every year, and over 90 percent of crashes can be attributed to human error.  Automated vehicles present an opportunity to make incredible gains in automobile safety. 

I would like to thank Senator Peters for working so closely with me on the AV START Act and look forward to continuing to work with him, other members of this Committee, and eventually the full Senate to ensure that the federal government does not stand in the way of this potentially lifesaving technology. 

The second item on today’s agenda, the bipartisan TSA Modernization Act, which I introduced with Senators Nelson, Blunt and Cantwell, builds upon security reforms enacted last year and responds to current aviation security challenges.

The legislation includes reforms of TSA’s organizational and leadership structure, provisions to advance development and acquisition of new security technologies, improvements for public area security, and pathways to minimize frustrating security delays for travelers.

I am hopeful that this bill, together with the surface security bill the Committee considered earlier this year, can be considered by the full Senate soon, perhaps even as part of a broader DHS reauthorization. 

The final legislative item on the agenda, the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act, sponsored by Senators Hatch, Baldwin, Donnelly, Heller, Sullivan, and Udall, would require the FCC to study the feasibility of designating a simple, easy-to-remember, three-digit dialing code to be used for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline system.

Tragically, suicide is an increasing problem in the United States, and the National Suicide Hotline Improvement Act would ensure that the FCC has the input of Veterans’ representatives and Mental Health professionals as it considers how best to ensure those in crisis can easily reach the help they need.

Finally, the committee will consider five well-qualified nominees. 

If confirmed, they will fill a number of key vacancies – including the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, the Administrator of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere.  

With that, I will turn to Senator Nelson for any opening remarks.

Thune Statement on Yahoo! Breach Announcement; Committee to Hold Hearing

Statement on the announcement that the number of affected accounts in Yahoo!’s initial December 2016 data breach was substantially larger than previously announced.

Sens. Thune and Markey Encourage FCC Action On Robocalling

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who serves as chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, together with Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA), today sent a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai. The letter encourages the commission to continue with a rulemaking that creates and makes available a comprehensive database of reassigned telephone numbers in an effort to provide consumers and businesses with relief from robocalling and robotexts and to provide those calling in good faith a means of avoiding liability for unknowingly violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Excerpt from the letter to the FCC:

“Periodically, consumers receive unwanted robocalls and robotexts because the previous holder, not the current holder, of the phone number provided consent.  Not only are these calls and texts to reassigned numbers a nuisance to consumers, but they also create liabilities for calling parties because more than one call or text to a reassigned number may be a violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  Many of our constituents complain about receiving these intrusive and unsolicited calls and texts that violate the rights of privacy and control created by the TCPA.  We have also heard from hospitals, small businesses, and other stakeholders in our states who exercise care in their efforts to contact their patients, customers, or employees, but who nonetheless could face liability under the TCPA because they are alleged to have called reassigned numbers.”

The Commerce Committee exercises jurisdiction over the FCC.

Click here for a copy of the full letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai.

Advocates Support Senate Self-Driving Legislation Provisions for Disabled Americans

The Commerce Committee released letters from organizational advocates for disabled, blind, and senior Americans, who will gain greater future mobility thanks to self-driving vehicle technology and The AV START Act.

Field Hearing to Examine Broadband Deployment in New Hampshire

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) will convene a field hearing titled, “Expanding Broadband Infrastructure in the Granite State,” on Friday October 13, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. in Keene, New Hampshire. The hearing will examine the deployment of broadband infrastructure, especially in rural areas.


-  The Honorable Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
-  Mr. Joshua Cyr, Director, Education and Acceleration, Alpha Loft
-  Mr. Mike Reed, State President, Consolidated Communications
-  Mr. Brian Shepperd, Director Broadband Services, University of New Hampshire
-  Mr. Grant Spellmyer, Vice President – Federal Affairs & Public Policy, US Cellular
-  Mr. Tom Strickland, President & Co-Owner, Sequoya Technologies

* Witness list subject to change

Hearing Details:

Friday, October 13, 2017
10:00 a.m. EDT
Full committee
Keene State College
Centennial Hall Alumni Center
229 Main St.
Keene, N.H.  

Witness testimony and opening statements will be available on Media interested in attending the event should contact Ricki Eshman at or (202) 228-1041.

GSA Announces Awards for GSA SmartPay 3 Master Contracts

GSA news releases - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 12:12pm
Next Generation of Payment Solutions will Help Federal Agencies Efficiently Meet Mission Needs

Senate Confirms FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to New FCC Term

The U.S. Senate, by a vote of 52 to 41, confirmed current Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai to a new five-year term beginning July 1, 2016.

Southbound Vehicle Traffic at San Ysidro Port Detours to Otay Mesa Port During I-5 &amp; I-805 Closures South of SR 905

GSA news releases - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 12:12pm
Traffic Advisory for the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry project, September 2017.

Thune and Peters Introduce S. 1885, The AV START Act

Self-driving vehicle technologies will save lives, improve mobility for people with disabilities, and create new jobs...

VIDEO: Thune and Wicker Commend Chairman Pai on Senate Floor

“Mr. Pai’s stellar career in communications policy, his integrity, and the tireless work ethic he displays will continue to serve the FCC well, and guide the agency back to being a more collaborative and productive institution.”...

TSA Modernization: Improvements to Aviation Security

U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-M.O.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security, will convene a legislative hearing titled “TSA Modernization: Improvements to Aviation Security” at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 28, 2017. The hearing will examine key reform proposals in upcoming legislation to reform and improve aviation security policy and programs at the TSA. This hearing builds on Committee oversight efforts following a February 2017 subcommittee hearing that explored stakeholder perspectives on how TSA can better serve the traveling public.


-  Mr. Brian Weiler, Director of Aviation, Springfield-Branson National Airport
-  Mr. Stephen Alterman, President, Cargo Airline Association; Chairman, Aviation Security Advisory Committee
-  Ms. Sissy Pressnell, Vice President of Government Relations, Smiths Group; Vice Chair, Security Manufacturers Coalition
-  Mr. Michael White, Vice President, Government & Industry Relations, Cargo Networks Services Corp, International Air Transport Association (IATA) 

Hearing Details:

Thursday, September 28, 2017
10:00 a.m.
Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and 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

Commerce Announces Markup on October 4

The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, October 4 at 10:00 a.m. in Hart 216 to consider legislative measures and nominations.

Thune and Peters Announce Agreement on Self-Driving Vehicle Legislation

Senators will introduce and release legislative text Thursday...


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