Construction Industry News

Committee Announces Hearing for Presidential Nominees

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 Thursday, July 26, 2018, to consider two presidential nominees.

Completed nomination questionnaires are available at  


  • Mr. Rick A. Dearborn, of Oklahoma, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors
  • Mr. Martin J. Oberman, of Illinois, to be a Member of the Surface Transportation Board

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Thursday, July 26, 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

Thune and Markey Outline Opportunity for FCC Action on Reassigned Numbers Database to Combat Unwanted Robocalls and Robotexts

Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) shared their vision for how an upcoming rulemaking can better protect consumers who receive unwanted robocalls and robotexts to a phone number that was reassigned after the previous holder gave consent to be contacted.

Subcommittee Begins NASA Hearing Series with Mars Exploration Hearing

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing titled “Destination Mars – Putting American Boots on the Surface of the Red Planet” at 2:15 p.m. on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. The hearing will focus on the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) exploration priorities and will be the first in a series of hearings in anticipation of a future NASA authorization legislation.


  • Mr. Chris Carberry, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Explore Mars. Inc.
  • Dr. Dava Newman, Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Harvard-MIT Health, Sciences, and Technology
  • Dr. Peggy A. Whitson, former NASA Astronaut

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
2:15 p.m.
Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness 

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

Full Committee to Explore Spectrum Needs to Ensure American Leadership in Global 5G Race

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “The Race to 5G: Exploring Spectrum Needs to Maintain U.S. Global Leadership” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. The hearing will examine the economic impact of 5G and the importance of American leadership to meet the growing consumer demand for reliable broadband services.


  • The Honorable Meredith Baker, President and Chief Executive Officer, CTIA – The Wireless Association
  • Mr. Dean Brenner, Senior Vice President, Spectrum Strategy and Technology, Qualcomm
  • Mr. Craig T. Cowden, Senior Vice President, Wireless Technology, Charter Communications Inc.

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, July 25, 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


Committee to Hold Hearing to Examine Innovations in Shark Research and Technology...

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

I’d like to start by welcoming our witnesses, but especially Dr. Robert Hueter from Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota, Florida. Dr. Hueter is the director of Mote’s Center for Shark Research, which is the only congressionally-designated Center for Shark Research in the country. He also serves as a chief science advisor for OCEARCH, a nonprofit that does shark tagging and research and provides free, open-source data and education. 

I just used their Global Shark Tracker app this morning and it’s pretty amazing how far technology has come to be able to track the location of these tagged sharks in near-real time. 

Our other three witnesses have Florida connections as well: Dr. Al Dove oversees the Georgia Aquarium Conservation Field Station, which is located in Flagler County, Florida.  Dr. Cheryl Wilga received her PhD from the University of South Florida in Tampa. Ms. Kukulya used the remote environmental monitor unit off the coast of Panama City as part of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Fest.  I’m delighted by the Florida representation here today. And I think it highlights the state’s crucial and special role in shark research. 

Florida is leading the way in shark research. We have the one of the longest coastlines in the U.S. and are home to many types of sharks.  We have some of the world’s top experts, including those of you right here on our panel. We have some of the world’s best shark research centers and programs, at Mote, the University of Florida, the University of Miami, Nova Southeastern, Florida Atlantic University, the Florida Institute of Technology and more. Earlier this year, Florida researchers even discovered a new species of shark, the Atlantic sixgill shark. 

Sharks are also important to Florida’s economy, supporting commercial and recreational fishing and eco-tourism shark diving adventures. Believe it or not, some people pay money to swim with sharks! Sharks also help keep the ecosystem in balance and are important for the health of Florida’s coral reefs, which are already suffering from a disease outbreak and warming water temperatures. 

Now, I know there’s some reason to fear sharks, too, and just last week there was a rare double shark encounter in Fernandina Beach in northern Florida with two men being bitten within the same hour.

Fortunately, the men have non-life-threatening injuries. 

I want to thank the local fire department for quickly responding to the situation and immediately closing the beach until it was safe to reopen. But the reality is that the chances of an encounter are very low. Of the millions of tourists visiting the beaches and getting in the water in Florida each year, there are just a handful of encounters. 

There’s a lot we can learn from sharks. Sharks have been used to produce potential cancer-fighting and antibacterial medicines, smarter and more energy-efficient designs, and faster swimsuits used by Olympic athletes to name a few. I look forward to hearing about these developments and others from Dr. Hueter and the rest of the experts on the panel.  

Given the long list of shark researchers in Florida and around the country, I suspect we may hear from some of them with more information on sharks. I ask for unanimous consent that any such comments may be submitted to the record. 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

<p>Good morning. Today, we are here to

Good morning. Today, we are here to discuss innovations in shark research and technology.

What many of you might not know, is that my home state of South Dakota has a long history with sharks – a connection at least 70 million years old, from a time when South Dakota was covered by shallow seas.

My state was once the home of relatives of the Great White Shark, and we can still find their fossilized teeth today. The Ginsu Shark, whose tooth I have here, was named after its teeth – teeth that were sharp enough to take down the occasional dinosaur.

Relatives of the Megaladon also swam in those seas. If anyone has seen the trailer for the soon-to-be-released movie The Meg, you’ll know not to turn your back on our South Dakota sharks.

Even before the movie Jaws was released in the 1970s, Americans have been fascinated by sharks. Aquariums and other educational programs have helped to demystify sharks, and our initial fear has turned into fandom.

Now, shark week is watched by millions of viewers every year and is celebrating its 30th anniversary.

But, because they often live deep in the oceans, learning about many species of sharks is extremely difficult.

Increasing our understanding of sharks has required creative innovation from shark scientists and engineers using everything from medical x-rays to satellites in outer space.

These scientific efforts inform the management of shark stocks through the Magnusson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Under this Act, U.S. fisheries, including shark fisheries, are the best managed in the world.

To improve management of sharks, this committee has passed both the Sustainable Shark Fisheries and Trade Act and the Shark Fin Trade Elimination Act. Among other things, these bills would protect sharks by regulating trade in shark fins.

Today, we will hear from four scientists from across the United States who are pushing the boundaries of what we know about sharks.

This shark research is being used to improve American lives by increasing our understanding of oceans and fisheries, creating new innovations in engineering, and even searching for medical breakthroughs.

For example, research on the aerodynamics of shark skin is being used to improve the design of airplanes, and shark cartilage is helping burn victims heal faster. Sharks were one of the first fish to carry satellite tags, leading to much better management of other highly migratory species in American fisheries, such as Tuna and Swordfish.

As it turns out, our fascination with sharks is more than justified, and I look forward to hearing from our expert witnesses today.

I will now turn to Ranking Member Nelson for his opening statement.

U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Gymnastics & Michigan State University to Testify at Subcommittee Hearing Regarding the Future of Amateur Athlete Safety

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) will convene a hearing titled “Strengthening and Empowering U.S. Amateur Athletes: Moving Forward with Solutions” at 2:30 pm on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. The hearing will focus on changes made by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Gymnastics (USAG), and Michigan State University (MSU) to protect Olympic and amateur athletes from abuse.

Committee Hearing to Examine NOAA’s Blue Economy Initiative

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene a hearing entitled, “NOAA’s Blue Economy Initiative: Supporting Commerce in American Oceans and Great Lakes,” at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. The hearing will examine the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s initiative to support the sectors of American commerce that rely upon the oceans and Great Lakes. 


  • Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., USN Ret., Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, July 24, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard 

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

House and Senate Leaders Request Follow Up on Spectre and Meltdown Vulnerabilities

WASHINGTON, DC – Bicameral leaders today sent a letter to the CERT Coordination Center (CERT-CC) following up on concerns raised about coordinated vulnerability disclosure (CVD) practices amid the Spectre and Meltdown cybersecurity vulnerabilities. 

Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), today wrote to CERT-CC about the coordination of the CVD process and other issues involving imprecise language that could give both companies and users a false sense of security. The Senate Commerce Committee and House Energy and Commerce Committee initially sent letters to affected companies on the public disclosure of the Spectre and Meltdown chip vulnerabilities earlier this year.

“Failure to adequately coordinate the CVD process and provide timely notice to companies that need to test patches extensively before applying them can significantly increase the risks associated with the vulnerabilities,” wrote Thune and Walden.

The leaders continued, “CVD remains a complex and constantly evolving concept, and as should be expected from one of this size and scale, the Spectre and Meltdown CVD showed that additional improvements can and should be made.”

Click here to read the full letter to CERT-CC.


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