Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation

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A collection of the latest records posted to U.S. Senate Committee On Commerce, Science, & Transportation.
Updated: 2 hours 17 min ago

Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework in the United States

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 10:00am

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework in the United States,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. This hearing will examine what Congress should do to address risks to consumers and implement data privacy protections for all Americans. The Commerce Committee exercises jurisdiction over the Federal Trade Commission, which is the primary enforcement agency for consumer privacy and information security protections. 

“In an age of rapid innovation in technology, consumers need transparency in how their data is collected and used,” said Wicker. “It is this committee’s responsibility and obligation to develop a federal privacy standard to protect consumers without stifling innovation, investment, or competition. As we continue to examine this critically important issue, I hope this first hearing will offer valuable insights that will help set the stage for meaningful bipartisan legislation.”

Witnesses:

To Be Announced

Hearing Details: 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
10:00 a.m.
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 

This hearing will take place in the Hart Senate Office Building 216. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Cantwell Comments on New Rules to Bolster Oil Train Spill Response

Thu, 02/14/2019 - 12:00pm

U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) issued the following statement today in response to the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) release of new rules requiring railroads to develop comprehensive oil spill response plans.  

“The rules announced today by the Department of Transportation represent a small step forward, but we still have much bigger issues that have not been addressed.”

Senator Cantwell has been a constant voice in increasing tanker car safety and reducing volatility of crude oil that passes through communities in Washington state and throughout the country. The rule announced today comes as a result of provisions Cantwell passed through Congress in 2015 to require railroads to develop comprehensive oil spill response plans. She has also pressed the U.S. Department of Transportation to set standards for the volatility of crude oil to protect communities along rail lines.

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Wicker Convenes Hearing on America’s Infrastructure Needs

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 12:00pm
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today convened the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for its hearing titled, “America’s Infrastructure Needs: Keeping Pace with a Growing Economy.” The hearing focused on the current state of infrastructure and opportunities for improvement, including public and private funding, support for multimodal connectivity, and rural development.

Committee Approves Presidential Nominations and Coast Guard Reserve Promotion

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 12:00pm

WASHINGTON –  Today the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved four nominations to the board of directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and a Coast Guard Reserve Promotion subject to Senate confirmation.

Nominations considered are as follows: (approved by voice vote unless otherwise noted)

  1. Nomination of Janice Miriam Hellreich, of Hawaii, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  2. Nomination of Robert Mandell, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  3. Nomination of Don Munce, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  4. Nomination of Bruce M. Ramer, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  5. Coast Guard Reserve Promotion

Click here for additional information on nominees.

Ranking Member Maria Cantwell Opening Statement

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 11:09am

Thank you Chairman Wicker, and I too welcome all the witnesses here today. Sometimes a good message is worth repeating, so let me add my infrastructure investment rejoinder to your comments.

We know the importance of infrastructure and we also know what happens when we don’t invest. Just this week The Seattle Times ran an article about how Seattle had the 6th worst congestion in our country and that drivers lost a whopping 138 hours to traffic last year. That’s almost 6 days. So that is about productivity and about cost. To add insult to injury, yesterday 2019 Top Truck Bottlenecks reports came out and found that Washington state has six of the top 100 bottlenecks in the country. So to my colleagues comments about how freight can’t wait, and how the competitiveness of moving our products is critical to not just my state’s products, but to our entire nation’s, I thank him for mentioning those.

In Washington state we know we have to invest in infrastructure, and we’re not alone. And traffic isn’t the only problem. We know that whether that is bad roads or packed busses or not implementing PTC, that they can have tragic consequences. So what we need to do is move forward. The bottlenecks that were mentioned by my colleague, on our rail lines, and also our inability to move product, can lessen our nation’s competitiveness if we don’t get infrastructure right. It’s not that people who just are consumers lose their products or have to wait or that the cost is more – we lose our competitiveness to other nations who might be able to move those products faster.

And my colleague also mentioned the underserved and rural communities and Tribal communities that lack appropriate broadband access, which is critical to competing in the 21st century global economy. So we all agree that we need a heavy investment in infrastructure. I know the president initially called for a one trillion dollar investment in infrastructure, but the plan that puts forth the 200 billion dollars of federal investment relies heavily on a public-private partnership and more tolls. I think this has been received with a great deal of skepticism across the country.

What I think we need to do – my colleagues on this side of the aisle put forth an infrastructure proposal and really try to focus on the ROI that we get from infrastructure investment. Whether that is aviation, maritime, broadband, or things as basic as grid modernization, are about transforming our community and using the resources of our cherished infrastructure investment in the appropriate ways. I hope our committee will take a look at that proposal.

This past month with the shutdown, I think we got a very clear look at what happens when transportation doesn’t work. We know that transportation employees, like air traffic controllers and transportation security workers, met their challenges but faced many of them. And we don’t want to see that happen again. The shutdown is a wakeup call for us that says we have to invest in these critical aspects of infrastructure to move our economy forward. So I look forward to working with the Chairman and the members of this committee on our economic competiveness as a nation. It requires real investment in infrastructure, and I hope that we’ll get a chance to talk about that. ­

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

America’s Infrastructure Needs: Keeping Pace with a Growing Economy

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:15am

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “America’s Infrastructure Needs: Keeping Pace with a Growing Economy,” at approximately 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. The exact start time is contingent on the conclusion of an earlier and separate Commerce Committee business meeting that will be open to the public in the same hearing room. The hearing will focus on opportunities for infrastructure improvement, including federal funding, financing programs, and permitting and regulatory streamlining.

Witnesses:

  • Mr. William Friedman, Chairman, American Association of Port Authorities, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
  • Mr. Ian Jefferies, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Railroads  
  • Mr. Matthew Polka, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Cable Association
  • Mr. Chris Spear, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Trucking Association
  • Mr. Larry Willis, President, Transportation Trades Department

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
10:15 a.m.
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

This hearing will take place in the Dirksen Senate Office Building G50. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Executive Session

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 10:00am

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene an executive session at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, in Dirksen G50 to consider the following nominations.

Click here for additional information on nominees.

Agenda:

  1. Nomination of Janice Miriam Hellreich, of Hawaii, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  2. Nomination of Robert Mandell, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  3. Nomination of Don Munce, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  4. Nomination of Bruce M. Ramer, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting
  5. Coast Guard Promotion

*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details: 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room SD-G50
 
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov.

 

<p>Good morning. I am here today with

Wed, 02/13/2019 - 1:09am

Good morning. I am here today with my colleague, Ranking Member Cantwell, to discuss a pressing issue facing our nation—the state of our country’s infrastructure. 

As we all know, President Trump continues to call for infrastructure revitalization. Just last week in his State of the Union address he called on Congress to work with the Administration to pass an infrastructure bill. 

Infrastructure impacts nearly every corner of our country and economy — the corn and soybeans grown in the Midwest that are shipped through the Port of Seattle, the $323 billion in goods shipped each year to and from Colorado primarily by truck, the manufactured products moving through the port of Anchorage, the 150 million tons of freight traveling by rail through West Virginia each year, and the billions of dollars of machinery shipped to and from Mississippi each year. 

Unfortunately, what was once the envy of the world, our infrastructure system has fallen behind on what is required to maintain America’s competitiveness in a global market. 

The American Society of Civil Engineers report card gives our infrastructure a grade of D+. Our ports are congested. Millions continue to be without access to high-speed internet. Americans spend eight billion hours stuck in traffic each year. As an example, Los Angeles drivers spend 102 hours a year in traffic during peak times, while London drivers spend only 74 hours a year. In Mississippi alone, there are thousands of structurally deficient bridges. These statistics mean fewer jobs, less time with family, lower economic growth, or worse. 

Fortunately, improving our infrastructure is an area where bipartisan agreement and cooperation can be found. This Committee already has built upon and will continue to build on this history of bipartisanship as it relates to transportation and infrastructure legislation. 

Just last week, we kicked off the 116th Congress with a hearing on 5G technology and the societal benefits of maintaining American leadership in innovation. 5G has the ability to usher in a new era of connectivity through facilitation of cutting edge medical services or autonomous and connected transportation technologies — that allow vehicles to talk to each other or to communicate with roads, bridges, or traffic signals in order to reduce accidents and increase mobility. 

Last fall, the Committee led Congress in passage of the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act, which authorized the federal aviation transportation programs for five years, promoting airport infrastructure, safety, and American leadership in aviation. 

Additionally, led by our friends over at the Committee on Environment and Public Works, where I serve with many members of this committee, the 115th Congress authorized our water resources infrastructure programs by passing the America’s Water Infrastructure Act. 

While less recent, the Committee played a prominent role in the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation in 2015. The FAST Act — a five-year bill to improve our nation’s infrastructure — provided long-term funding certainty for transportation infrastructure investment. It also improved surface transportation safety, enhanced economic growth, increased freight connectivity, and streamlined project delivery. This important legislation expires in 2020. 

Working with our colleagues on the other relevant committees, the Commerce Committee will continue to work on the future of our infrastructure system. Our committee has broad jurisdiction over issues affecting ports, rail, trucking, aviation, and telecommunications. 

More specifically, with respect to transportation, the Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over the Department of Transportation’s Office of the Secretary, which includes grant programs like BUILD, which has never been authorized, and important programs under the Build America Bureau. 

Additionally, this Committee oversees various Highway Trust Fund and General Fund programs under important modal administrations and independent agencies, including the FAA, the Federal Railroad Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Maritime Administration, Surface Transportation Board, and National Transportation Safety Board. 

On telecommunications issues, this Committee oversees the FCC, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the Department of Commerce. 

Given its jurisdiction, this committee is in a unique position to examine how technology, including advances in automation, artificial intelligence, and connectivity, can revolutionize transportation and mobility for the 21st Century. 

During today’s hearing, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses: 

* Mr. William Friedman, Chairman of the American Association of Port Authorities, and also the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority; 

* Mr. Ian Jefferies, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of American Railroads; 

* Matthew Polka, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Cable Association; 

* Mr. Chris Spear, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Trucking Association; 

* Mr. Larry Willis, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO 

Their testimony will address many of the critical issues that this committee will need to discuss.

I look forward to a thoughtful discussion on these important topics so we can work to rebuild our nation’s infrastructure.

Wicker Statement on President Trump's Artificial Intelligence Executive Order

Mon, 02/11/2019 - 12:00pm
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement after President Trump signed an Executive Order launching the American Artificial Intelligence (AI) Initiative.

Wicker to Hold Hearing Examining Consumer Data Privacy Issues

Fri, 02/08/2019 - 12:00pm

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “Policy Principles for a Federal Data Privacy Framework in the United States,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. This hearing will examine what Congress should do to address risks to consumers and implement data privacy protections for all Americans. The Commerce Committee exercises jurisdiction over the Federal Trade Commission, which is the primary enforcement agency for consumer privacy and information security protections. 

“In an age of rapid innovation in technology, consumers need transparency in how their data is collected and used,” said Wicker. “It is this committee’s responsibility and obligation to develop a federal privacy standard to protect consumers without stifling innovation, investment, or competition. As we continue to examine this critically important issue, I hope this first hearing will offer valuable insights that will help set the stage for meaningful bipartisan legislation.” 

Witnesses:

To Be Announced 

Hearing Details: 

Wednesday, February 27, 2019
10:00 a.m.
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation 

This hearing will take place in the Hart Senate Office Building 216. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

At 5G hearing, Cantwell Calls for 5G Cybersecurity Strategy, Outlines Steps to Maintain Global Leadership

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 12:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, called for doing what is necessary to maintain America’s competitive advantage in 5G to continue to grow our digital economy and protect our national security. She called for implementing a comprehensive strategy to secure 5G technology from state-sponsored bad actors.

“I’m all in for 5G…But in the push for 5G, we need to make sure we’re not blind to some of the very important policy issues,” said Cantwell during the hearing. “Put simply, 5G networks must be secure, and that starts with having a 5G strategy that focuses on shoring up our defense against hackers and state-sponsored actors.”

In her opening remarks, Cantwell outlined the next steps needed to implement a comprehensive 5G cybersecurity strategy and maintain global leadership: 

      • The Trump administration must provide Congress with a real, quantifiable 5G security threat assessment.  

      • The United States must be certain there is a secure supply chain backing up 5G networks.

      • The United States must take a hard look at whether to ban foreign bad actors from the 5G supply chain.  

Cantwell also highlighted the need to work with international partners to protect the 5G supply line and prevent state-sponsored espionage. 

“I know that there are state-sponsored actors who have hacked our networks, and I want all of us to work more closely together to call out, on an international basis, those wrong actors, and work together to try to prevent them in a broader coalition,” said Cantwell. 

When fully deployed, 5G technology will increase mobile internet speeds by up to 20x over current 4G technology, according to Qualcomm. And the benefits of 5G are not limited to mobile devices. 5G will enable economic growth and be a platform for change in areas like driverless cars, energy consumption, artificial intelligence, city planning, climate research, manufacturing, healthcare, agriculture, and how we all access and consume information.

“If we roll up our sleeves, get serious about the cyber issues, and continue to make the right investments in the innovation economy and the race to win in 5G, the United States will do very, very well,” said Cantwell.

A transcript of Senator Cantwell’s full remarks are below.

See video of Senator Cantwell’s opening statement HERE and Q&A HERE.

CANTWELL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this important hearing today on 5G. I welcome all the witnesses who are here today, especially our witness from Spokane, who’s going to talk about smart city innovation.

But we’re here to talk generally about how the United States maintains its competitive advantage in 5G and how we use this new technology to help us in growing our digital economy. Already in the state of Washington a lot of 5G investments are being made to continue the growth of what our country knows is a trillion dollar opportunity and a continuation of the innovation economy.

So, I’m all in for 5G. We know that, along with various applications that you already mentioned, Mr. Chairman – on artificial intelligence and quantum computing – that we will really reshape our economy for the future. That the innovations that 5G will help us unleash will help us in many, many important aspects of our national agenda, national defense, and important partnerships for the future. 

But in the push for 5G, we need to make sure we’re not blind to some of the very important policy issues. Put simply, 5G networks must be secure, and that starts with having a cybersecurity strategy that focuses on shoring up our defense against hackers and state-sponsored actors of cyberterrorism. 

Protecting national security means making sure that America’s economy is strong and that we remain a global leader. Cybersecurity is one thing I wish I would have heard more from the President on last night. We know that with artificial intelligence and quantum computing, that applications made possible with 5G can transform innovation, change our modern warfare, creating military advantages through integrated military operations, but we need to make sure that this network is safe.

So, the more that we rely on these networks to drive productivity and efficiency and sustainability, whether it is our businesses or our military applications, we need to make sure that the promise of a 5G network does reach that level of security. 

So, a few things that I think we need to think about. First, we must be certain that there is a secure supply chain backing up our 5G system. We cannot tolerate a leaky valve or a back-door into these networks. Second, the administration should provide us with a real, quantifiable 5G threat assessment so we can work fully to make sure our network is secure. And three, we need to have a serious conversation about what level, if any, of foreign components we are going to allow into the 5G network.

I know that there are state-sponsored actors who have hacked our networks, and I want all of us to work more closely together to call out, on an international basis, those wrong actors, and work together to try to prevent them in a broader coalition. We need to make sure that we are all hands on deck. I want the FCC to use its existing authorities to make sure these networks are safe and secure, and to know that Congress is watching.

So, I know if we roll up our sleeves, get serious about the cyber issues, and continue to make the right investments, that the innovation economy and the race to win in 5G, the United States will do very, very well.

More importantly, we need to continue to talk about the great applications that 5G will empower. That is why I’m so happy today that we have a witness from the smart cities and innovation area to talk about exactly what this can do for our local governments. Local governments are always cash-strapped, so to know that they can make smart technology infrastructure upgrades that can help save money in the future is something I think is very important.

I especially want to welcome Kim Zentz, the CEO of Urbanova, who is on the panel today, and to talk about how that cutting-edge collaboration between Washington State University, the City of Spokane, and a group of innovators are already exploring ways to leverage technology and data analytics to move our cities towards a more sustainable future. This is something that I know many of my colleagues on this committee have already sponsored legislation related to this.

Mr. Chairman, I know that we’ll have a chance at a future hearing to talk about, again, how we access rural broadband and do a better job, but as we’re talking about 5G, I think that we need to put as much enthusiasm into the discussion of what will 5G investments do for us in the area of rural and underserved areas, like Tribal communities, into broadband.

And lastly, Mr. Chairman, I should just mention, since you mentioned the value of the mid-band and how important that was, that as we talk about how we move forward on capitalization of this effort, that valuable mid-band spectrum license to satellite providers years ago is a very valuable commodity, and I think that we need to make sure that the U.S. taxpayer is involved in getting the best out of that as possible.

So, with that Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and look forward to what our colleagues have to say about this issue during the Q&A. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

###

Wicker Convenes Hearing on the Race to 5G

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 12:00pm
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today convened the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for its first hearing of the 116th Congress. This hearing focused on key steps to maintain U.S. global leadership in next-generation communications technology, spectrum needs to accelerate deployment, and new applications and services consumers can expect with 5G deployments. The hearing also examined current efforts to modernize infrastructure siting policies and the security of 5G networks.

Committee Announces Hearing on America’s Infrastructure Needs

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 12:00pm

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “America’s Infrastructure Needs: Keeping Pace with a Growing Economy,” at approximately 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13, 2019. The exact start time is contingent on the conclusion of an earlier and separate Commerce Committee business meeting that will be open to the public in the same hearing room. The hearing will focus on opportunities for infrastructure improvement, including federal funding, financing programs, and permitting and regulatory streamlining.

Witnesses:

  • Mr. William Friedman, Chairman, American Association of Port Authorities, President and Chief Executive Officer, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority
  • Mr. Ian Jefferies, President and Chief Executive Officer, Association of American Railroads  
  • Mr. Matthew Polka, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Cable Association
  • Mr. Chris Spear, President and Chief Executive Officer, American Trucking Association
  • Mr. Larry Willis, President, Transportation Trades Department

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

10:15 a.m.

Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

This hearing will take place in the Dirksen Senate Office Building G50. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.

Committee Announces Markup on February 13

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 12:00pm

WASHINGTON –  U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene an executive session at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, in Dirksen G50 to consider the following nominations.

Click here for additional information on nominees.

Agenda: 

1.       Nomination of Janice Miriam Hellreich, of Hawaii, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

2.       Nomination of Robert Mandell, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

3.       Nomination of Don Munce, of Florida, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

4.       Nomination of Bruce M. Ramer, of California, to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

5.       Coast Guard Promotion

*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details:

Wednesday, February 13, 2019
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room SD-G50
 
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov.

Executive Session

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 10:00am
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene an executive session at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 in Dirksen G50 to consider the committee budget resolution and subcommittee membership.

Winning the Race to 5G and the Next Era of Technology Innovation in the United States

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 10:00am
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene the first full committee hearing of the 116th Congress titled, “Winning the Race to 5G and the Next Era of Technology Innovation in the United States.”

Ranking Member Maria Cantwell Opening Statement

Wed, 02/06/2019 - 2:23am

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this important hearing today on 5G. I welcome all the witnesses who are here today, especially our witness from Spokane, who’s going to talk about smart city innovation.

But we’re here to talk generally about how the United States maintains its competitive advantage in 5G and how we use this new technology to help us in growing our digital economy. Already in the state of Washington a lot of 5G investments are being made to continue the growth of what our country knows is a trillion dollar opportunity and a continuation of the innovation economy.

So, I’m all in for 5G. We know that, along with various applications that you already mentioned, Mr. Chairman – on artificial intelligence and quantum computing – that we will really reshape our economy for the future. That the innovations that 5G will help us unleash will help us in many, many important aspects of our national agenda, national defense, and important partnerships for the future. 

But in the push for 5G, we need to make sure we’re not blind to some of the very important policy issues. Put simply, 5G networks must be secure, and that starts with having a cybersecurity strategy that focuses on shoring up our defense against hackers and state-sponsored actors of cyberterrorism. 

Protecting national security means making sure that America’s economy is strong and that we remain a global leader. Cybersecurity is one thing I wish I would have heard more from the President on last night. We know that with artificial intelligence and quantum computing, that applications made possible with 5G can transform innovation, change our modern warfare, creating military advantages through integrated military operations, but we need to make sure that this network is safe.

So, the more that we rely on these networks to drive productivity and efficiency and sustainability, whether it is our businesses or our military applications, we need to make sure that the promise of a 5G network does reach that level of security. 

So, a few things that I think we need to think about. First, we must be certain that there is a secure supply chain backing up our 5G system. We cannot tolerate a leaky valve or a back-door into these networks. Second, the administration should provide us with a real, quantifiable 5G threat assessment so we can work fully to make sure our network is secure. And three, we need to have a serious conversation about what level, if any, of foreign components we are going to allow into the 5G network.

I know that there are state-sponsored actors who have hacked our networks, and I want all of us to work more closely together to call out, on an international basis, those wrong actors, and work together to try to prevent them in a broader coalition. We need to make sure that we are all hands on deck. I want the FCC to use its existing authorities to make sure these networks are safe and secure, and to know that Congress is watching.

So, I know if we roll up our sleeves, get serious about the cyber issues, and continue to make the right investments, that the innovation economy and the race to win in 5G, the United States will do very, very well.

More importantly, we need to continue to talk about the great applications that 5G will empower. That is why I’m so happy today that we have a witness from the smart cities and innovation area to talk about exactly what this can do for our local governments. Local governments are always cash-strapped, so to know that they can make smart technology infrastructure upgrades that can help save money in the future is something I think is very important.

I especially want to welcome Kim Zentz, the CEO of Urbanova, who is on the panel today, and to talk about how that cutting-edge collaboration between Washington State University, the City of Spokane, and a group of innovators are already exploring ways to leverage technology and data analytics to move our cities towards a more sustainable future. This is something that I know many of my colleagues on this committee have already sponsored legislation related to this.

Mr. Chairman, I know that we’ll have a chance at a future hearing to talk about, again, how we access rural broadband and do a better job, but as we’re talking about 5G, I think that we need to put as much enthusiasm into the discussion of what will 5G investments do for us in the area of rural and underserved areas, like Tribal communities, into broadband.

And lastly, Mr. Chairman, I should just mention, since you mentioned the value of the mid-band and how important that was, that as we talk about how we move forward on capitalization of this effort, that valuable mid-band spectrum license to satellite providers years ago is a very valuable commodity, and I think that we need to make sure that the U.S. taxpayer is involved in getting the best out of that as possible.

So, with that Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses and look forward to what our colleagues have to say about this issue during the Q&A. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Committee Announces Markup and First Hearing of the 116th Congress

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 12:00pm
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene an executive session at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, February 6, 2019, in Dirksen G50 to consider the committee budget resolution and subcommittee membership.

Wicker Statement on Huawei Indictments

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 12:00pm
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today issued the following statement on the U.S. Department of Justice indictments of Huawei officials in the U.S. and China:

Wicker Announces Commerce Committee Senior Staff

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 12:00pm

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced key staff roles on the committee. 

“Now that we have a senior team in place, we are redoubling our effors to advance the agenda for the committee,” said Wicker. “This team has varied experience from the Senate, House leadership, as well as the private sector. They are well suited to help advance our agenda and pass legislation that will benefit not only Mississippi, but the entire country.” 

Wicker has tapped John Keast to be staff director. Keast brings over 30 years of government and private sector policy expertise to the Committee, including service as staff in the Virginia House of Delegates and at a non-profit think tank. He joined Wicker in the beginning of 1994 and served as Wicker’s Chief of Staff in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2006. Keast holds a political science degree from Radford University.

Crystal Tully has been named deputy staff director. Tully has led the Commerce Committee’s communications and technology policy team since September 2017. She served previously in the offices of Sen. Wicker and Sen. John E.Sununu, R-N.H. She has also worked in the private sector with stakeholders on communications issues, and held legal clerkships with the Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission. She is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire and the George Washington University Law School.

Steven Wall will serve the committee as General Counsel. Wall previously served on the House Committee on House Administration, the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Senate Agriculture Committee. In addition, he served in the offices of Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., and Sen. Trent Lott, R-Miss.. He has also worked in the private sector in government relations and public policy consulting. Before beginning his career in Washington, Wall practiced law in Jackson, Mississippi. He received a Bachelor of Public Administration degree from the University of Mississippi, a J.D. from Vanderbilt University, and a Master’s degree in European Politics from the University of Edinburgh.

Rick VanMeter, who has been Sen. Wicker’s communications director since April 2018, will also serve as the communications director of the committee. VanMeter is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, and brings more than a decade of experience working in Congress and political campaigns. He most recently served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Congressman Andy Barr, R-Ky., and Communications Director for Congressman Adrian Smith, R-Neb.

Brianna Manzelli has been named deputy communications director of the committee. Manzelli has worked on the Commerce Committee’s communications team since July 2017. Previously, she was on the Republican National Committee’s communications team, as well as in the private sector. She is a graduate of Catholic University of America.

Rounding out Wicker’s leadership team on the committee are senior policy advisors Ellen BearesJames Mazol, and Olivia Trusty

Ellen Beares has been named policy director over the Subcommittee on Transportation and Safety, and the Subcommittee on Science, Oceans, Fisheries, and Weather. Beares has worked in the Senate for the past 20 years, 5 of which have been for Chairman Wicker handling Commerce Committee transportation, oceans, and science issues. Prior to working for Sen. Wicker, she served on the Senate Appropriations Committee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, as well as the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee handling the Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure. She graduated from Virginia Tech. 

James Mazol has been named policy director over the Subcommittee on Security, and the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space. Mazol previously served as Sen. Wicker’s National Security Advisor covering the national defense, foreign policy, and space portfolios. Prior to joining Senator Wicker, he served as Legislative Director to then- U.S. Congressman Jim Bridenstine, R-Okla., and as staff member on the House Armed Services Committee. 

Olivia Trusty has been named policy director over the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, and the Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection. Previously, Trusty handled telecommunications and technology issues for Sen. Wicker. Prior to joining Sen. Wicker, Trusty worked on the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee and served as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Bob Latta, R-Ohio. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s degree in American Government from Georgetown University.

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