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Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Mr. Chairman, I want to take a minute to express my condolences to the friends and loved ones of the victims of Friday’s horrific shooting at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. 

I also want to thank the heroic work that was undertaken by first responders and law enforcement personnel in responding to this shooting.

Although the investigation remains ongoing, I expect all of us here in Congress to continue exploring ways to protect the traveling public in light of this tragic incident.  While we made some progress in last year’s FAA bill to double the number of K-9 teams and bolster the screening of airport workers, this shooting serves as reminder that our work to improve airport security remains a constant challenge and is far from complete. This year’s FAA reauthorization bill could be a good place to start if more needs to be done to prevent similar tragedies from occurring.

Mr. Chairman, we are here today at a time when our nation is at a crossroads.

Many of our roads, bridges, tunnels and rails are aging and desperately need to be repaired or replaced. 

Years of neglect and increased demand have brought us to a point where we can no longer sit idly by and watch our country’s most critical infrastructure continue to deteriorate. 

We must step up to the challenge.  We must commit to build the next generation of great American infrastructure or risk harming our economy and global competitiveness by failing to do so.

That means investing in projects that will move people and goods for decades to come, such a 

  • • Ports – like those in my state of Florida that are responsible for moving goods in and out of our country
  • • Rails and highways that move those goods throughout our states
  • • Transit and rail projects that get Americans to work
  • • Airports and passenger rail projects that connect our communities, and
  • • Technologies of tomorrow that will move people and goods more efficiently and more safely. 

These projects will also create good paying jobs – whether it’s the construction worker laying the foundation for a new project, an engineer doing the design work, or the steel worker making the parts. 

The benefits of updating and expanding our transportation infrastructure can produce thunderous ripple effects – creating new developments, generating increased investments, and driving new economic opportunities.  

This is what our country needs now and for the future.  But it takes a strong commitment from Congress and the administration, and it will take a significant amount of funding.   

Secretary Chao, I hope we’ll hear more from you today on the incoming administration’s plan and how you intend to pay for it. 

Our nation’s transportation challenges include more than deteriorating roads and bridges.   Safety continues to be a serious problem across all of our transportation sectors.

The last two years marked a continuing and disturbing trend of rising fatalities on our highways, reversing the significant progress we’ve seen over a half century. 

The department must aggressively use all of its authority and resources to bring these numbers down, whether its cracking down on drunk and distracted driving, increasing seatbelt use, or getting defective vehicles – such as those with exploding Takata airbags – fixed immediately.

And the department must also prepare for the future.  As I speak, automakers are rapidly moving toward commercializing autonomous technology and self-driving cars. The department must play a central role in ensuring that this technology is truly safe for the American public.

Aviation safety is also critical.

An important task before the committee this year is FAA reauthorization, which is currently set to expire on September 30, 2017. 

Chairman Thune and I worked hard on a bipartisan and comprehensive FAA reauthorization bill last year, which passed the Senate by 95 to 3. 

Unfortunately, our reauthorization bill stalled in the House given a proposal there to privatize Air Traffic Control (ATC) services. 

Besides being costly and disruptive in implementation, such a privatization scheme would upset the partnership between the FAA and the Department of Defense, which provides 15 to 20 percent of ATC services in this country. 

Last, but certainly not least Secretary Chao, I hope we’ll get a commitment from you that you’ll look out for the traveling public by ensuring they have basic consumer protections.  This means working with us in Congress to make sure that airline passengers know what they are paying for upfront and that these costs are fair.   These provisions had broad bipartisan support in last year’s FAA reauthorization bill, and we should get them across the finish line this year.  

I look forward to hearing from you, especially about your plans to invest in our country’s future and ensure a safe transportation system for all. 

 

House Passes Small Business Regulatory Reform Measure

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 12:00am

Regulatory Accountability Act Includes Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements

WATCH Chairman Chabot’s Floor Remarks HERE.

WASHINGTON
– The U.S. House of Representatives has passed Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot’s measure to force federal regulators to craft smarter, less burdensome regulations that take into consideration their direct and reasonably foreseeable indirect economic effects, especially on small businesses.

Chabot’s bill, introduced last week as the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act of 2017, passed the House this evening as Title III of H.R. 5, the Regulatory Accountability Act.

“Small businesses are found in every congressional district and every industry,” Chairman Chabot (R-Ohio) said. “They provide livelihoods for millions of workers and their families. Small businesses employ nearly half of the private sector workforce and generate two out of every three new private sector jobs.”

“The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act eliminates loopholes that agencies, like the Internal Revenue Service, have used to avoid compliance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).” Chabot explained. “It also forces agencies to analyze not only direct, but also indirect effects of rules on small businesses – just as agencies are required to do when promulgating major rules affecting the environment.”

See more about what regulatory reform means for America’s 28 million small businesses here.

Chairman Chabot will speak about this legislation and the Committee’s plans to provide regulatory relief for small businesses in the 115th Congress at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) TOMORROW at 9:00 am.

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GSA releases updated statement on Old Post Office lease

GSA news releases - Wed, 01/11/2017 - 12:00am
GSA releases updated statement on Old Post Office lease

Commerce Postpones Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Commerce

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who serve respectively as the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following joint statement on the decision to postpone the January 12 confirmation hearing for Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump’s designee to serve as Secretary of Commerce until January 18, 2017, at 10:00 a.m:
 
“The general practice of the Senate Commerce Committee has been to require complete applications on candidates for Senate confirmation before holding a hearing. While Mr. Ross has submitted his responses to the committee’s questionnaire, we have not yet received the ethics agreement he is working on with the Office of Government Ethics and the Department of Commerce to finalize. In this instance, especially given that the committee will be proceeding with the hearing for another key cabinet appointment tomorrow, we have agreed to postpone Thursday’s hearing until January 18, so that ethics officials have additional time to complete their work and provide relevant information to the committee. We both remain committed to fair consideration of Mr. Ross’ nomination.”

Ross’s nomination questionnaire is available here.

Thune Announces Subcommittee Chairmen

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, announced that the Commerce Committee will continue to have six subcommittees in the 115th Congress, and the senators who will serve as subcommittee chairmen.

<p>I want to welcome everyone to the

I want to welcome everyone to the Commerce Committee’s first hearing of the 115th Congress, especially our new members, Senators Inhofe, Lee, Capito, Young, Baldwin, Duckworth, Hassan [Hass-uhn], and Cortez Masto.  In addition to growing in size, our Committee now has the proud distinction of being the Senate Committee with the most women members ever, at eight.

I also would like to thank all of our returning members, especially Ranking Member Nelson, for their hard work last Congress.  Together, we were able to enact over 60 measures in the 114th Congress.  I am anticipating another full agenda this Congress, and I am confident that we’ll be equally successful.

Today we will consider the nomination of Secretary Elaine Chao to be the 18th Secretary of Transportation.

The agency Secretary Chao has been nominated to lead plays a vital role in facilitating and promoting the safe and efficient movement of goods and people throughout our country and the world.  The Department contains 10 component agencies, employs over 57,000 full time employees, and has an operating budget of $75 billion.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the transportation sector employs over 12 million people nationwide and contributes nearly $1.4 trillion to the nation’s economy, or 8.6 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product.  In my home state of South Dakota, this translates into approximately 10,000 jobs.  But, these numbers only begin to tell the story, because so much of our economy is dependent on a thriving transportation sector.

For example, without a robust and efficient transportation sector, rural states like mine would be unable to get their goods to market.  Increasing the capacity and efficiency of our nation’s highways, rail lines, pipelines, and ports is crucial, and will have to be a top priority for the next Secretary of Transportation.

Another top priority for the next Secretary of Transportation must be safety.  While our nation’s pipelines, railroads, airways, and highways have a strong record of safety, improvements can and should be made.  Of course, it will be important to avoid one-size-fits all solutions on safety.  Instead, the Department must offer a range of tools to combat unique safety challenges, as South Dakota has done with its innovative 24/7 sobriety program to combat impaired driving.

Many of the strong safety improvements this Committee advanced as part of the FAST Act and PIPES Act last Congress are yet to be implemented, and we will expect our next Secretary of Transportation to work with us to ensure speedy implementation.  We will also have the opportunity to collaborate on safety improvements when we revisit the authorization of the Federal Aviation Administration later this year.

The next Secretary of Transportation will also have a unique opportunity to show federal leadership in the advancement of transportation innovation.  V2V technology, autonomous vehicles, and unmanned aircraft systems, to name a few, have great promise to increase safety, improve efficiency, and spur economic growth.

But, like all new technologies, these must be properly integrated into our current networks in a way that maximizes their benefits without compromising the performance of the current systems.

Secretary Chao, if confirmed, you will have a momentous opportunity to transform Americans’ transportation network by promoting safety and innovation, growing our nation’s freight network, and ensuring all users – both rural and urban –benefit equally.

To my colleagues, I would say that, if you were to imagine an ideal candidate to tackle these challenges, it would be hard to come up with a more qualified nominee than the one before us.  In addition to serving for eight years as the U.S. Secretary of Labor, Secretary Chao has also served as the Deputy Secretary of the department she’s now been tapped to lead.  Her extensive experience also includes leading the United Way of America, the Peace Corps, and the Federal Maritime Commission.

Secretary Chao, you have consistently proven your willingness to roll up your sleeves and address the challenges facing our nation.  I would like to thank you for testifying today and for your willingness to continue your record of service to the country.

I will now turn to Ranking Member Nelson for any opening remarks and then, before Secretary Chao’s opening statement, she will be introduced by her husband Senator McConnell and the other member of the Kentucky delegation, Senator Paul.

Better Broadband for Small Businesses

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 12:00am

Chabot Backs House Move to Protect Small Biz from FCC Internet Takeover

Watch Chairman Chabot’s Floor Remarks HERE


WASHINGTON
– House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) today hailed House passage of H.R. 288, the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act. This legislation exempts small businesses from burdensome new Internet regulations imposed by President Obama’s Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for five years. The measure also increases the number of small businesses that can use the exemption from the FCC’s “Open Internet Order,” commonly known as “net neutrality.”

“Often times, small Internet providers are the only ones willing to take the risk and deploy broadband to particularly hard-to-reach areas of rural America,” Chairman Chabot said. “The last thing they have time for is the FCC imposing a greater regulatory burden on them, diverting precious resources to make Washington bureaucrats busy instead of doing what they do best –providing high quality broadband services to millions of Americans to every corner of the country.” 

Throughout the 114th Congress, Chairman Chabot and Small Business Committee Republicans pressed outgoing FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on the impact of the new net neutrality of rules on small businesses.

Chairman Chabot will also be speaking at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) this Thursday on the Committee’s plans to provide regulatory relief for small businesses in the 115th Congress.

House Passes Chairman Chabot’s Bill to Help Startups Access Early Capital

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 01/10/2017 - 12:00am

HALOS Act Wins Bipartisan Support, Advances to U.S. Senate

Watch Chairman Chabot’s full remarks HERE.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House has passed Small Business Committee Chairman Chabot’s bipartisan legislation to help startup companies access early capital. H.R. 79, the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act, was passed by a vote of  344 to 73.

“One popular way small businesses connect with angel investors is through ‘demo days,’” said Chairman Chabot (R-Ohio). “These exciting events are sponsored by universities, non-profits, local governments, or other groups, that allow entrepreneurs to showcase their products and informally meet investors and customers.”

“SEC regulations are threatening to force these events out of business by imposing unwieldy regulations dictating who is and who is not allowed to simply attend,” Chabot explained. “We must continue to work together to create an environment where our small businesses, the engines of our economy, grow and flourish. This bill is one more step in that direction.”

BACKGROUND:

 

  • Chairman Chabot’s HALOS Act is identified as a way to create opportunities for new entrepreneurs in House Republicans’ Better Way plan for the economy.

 

  • The bill, which now moves to the U.S. Senate for consideration, builds on a provision of the 2012 JOBS Act by allowing angel investor groups established by local governments, non-profits, universities and other organizations to host events designed to let entrepreneurs showcase their work and connect with potential backers. 

Office of the United States Trade Representative: The European Union/Measures Concerning Meat and Meat Products

Office of Advocacy - Mon, 01/09/2017 - 2:32pm

On Wednesday, December 28, 2016, the Office  of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) published in the Federal Register a notice for  “Public Comments and Hearing Regarding a Request to Reinstate Action Taken in Connection with the European’s Union’s Measures Concerning Meat and Meat Products.” The EU bans the import of beef and beef products produced from animals in which six hormones have been administered for growth-production. The effect of the EU ban is to prohibit the import of all but specially-produced U.S.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

114th Congress Accomplishments Report

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation released its final report on committee accomplishments after the president signed the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, the committee’s 60th proposal enacted into law from the 114th Congress.

American Innovation and Competitiveness Act Signed into Law

U.S. Sen. John Thune, chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, issued statements on the enactment of S. 3084, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act.

Thune Selected for Second Term as Commerce Chairman

The U.S. Senate officially ratified U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) as chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for the 115th Congress.

Senate Commerce Sets Nomination Hearing for Wilbur Ross to be next Secretary of Commerce

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a nomination hearing for Wilbur Ross, President-elect Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Department of Commerce designee.

Chairman Chabot on Passage of REINS Act

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON - House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) made the following statement upon House passage of H.R. 26, the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act:

"The regulatory impact of the Obama Administration on small businesses has been devastating,” said Chairman Chabot. “The REINS Act takes a giant step in returning power to the American people and making the Washington bureaucracy accountable to them.”

The REINS Act would send new rules that will have a significant impact on the economy to Congress for an up or down vote before they can be implemented.

Chairman Chabot has already introduced two key pieces of legislation as part of House Republicans’ Better Way plan for the economy that will reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and entrepreneurs: H.R. 33, The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, and H.R. 79, The Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act

A 2017 Food-Court Resolution: End Regulation-through-Litigation Crusade Against Trans Fat

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 2:03pm
In 2016, class-action lawsuits alleging that a processed food product or its labeling violated state consumer-protection laws continued to clog the federal courts, especially in California. The number of new food-related consumer class actions filed last year nearly equaled the number filed in 2015, according to a report in Food Navigator USA. It’s unclear whether […]
Categories: Latest News

Nelson Statement on Jessica Rosenworcel's Re-nomination to the FCC

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) issued the following statement on President Obama's re-nomination of the FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel:

“This was the right thing to do,” said Nelson.  “Hopefully, Senate GOP leaders will finally live up to their promise to confirm her.”

Senate Commerce Announces Nomination Hearing for Elaine Chao to be next Secretary of Transportation

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a nomination hearing for The Honorable Elaine Chao, President-elect Donald Trump’s Secretary of the Department of Transportation designee.

House Moves to Stop Obama’s “Midnight Regulations”

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON - House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) made the following statement upon House passage of H.R. 21, the Midnight Rules Relief Act, legislation to give Congress the power to stop, with one vote, all last minute regulations issued by the Obama administration.

“Over the last eight years, the Obama administration has gone on a regulatory rampage, issuing major rules that have cost over $100 billion annually,” said Chairman Chabot. “A disproportionate share of those enormous costs have fallen on American small businesses. It is unconscionable that the Obama Administration is using its final days in office to saddle small businesses with even more costs to pay for preserving his liberal legacy. The Midnight Rules Relief Act will help protect small businesses from further harm caused by 11th-hour Obama administration red tape."

At the end of last year, Chairman Chabot, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other House Committee Chairmen sent aletterto the heads of all President Obama’s Cabinet departments and federal agencies warning them against moving forward with Midnight Regulations.

Click here to view Chairman Chabot’s remarks in support of this legislation.

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GSA seeks information from industry to better capability on Software-as-a-Service (Saas) for Administrative Services

GSA news releases - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 12:00am
GSA seeks information from industry to better capability on Software-as-a-Service (Saas) for Administrative Services

Chairman Chabot Introduces Bill to Help Startups Access Early Capital

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – As the 115th Congress gets to work, House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) introduced H.R. 79, the Helping Angels Lead Our Startups (HALOS) Act.

Identified as a way to create opportunities for new entrepreneurs in House Republicans’ Better Way plan for the economy, this bill builds on a provision of the 2012 JOBS Act by allowing angel investor groups established by local governments, non-profits, universities and other organizations to host events designed to let entrepreneurs showcase their work and connect with potential backers. 

“When entrepreneurs are looking for ways to access the early capital they need to get off the ground, they look at every avenue available to them,” said Chairman Chabot“If we’re going to help open doors for the next generation of job creators, we need to take the same approach. This measure will help startups and investors cut through unnecessary red tape and provide them with new opportunities to succeed.”

Read more about the HALOS Act in A Better Way to Grow our Economy (Page 26).

This is the second piece of legislation introduced by Chairman Chabot in as many days to reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses and entrepreneurs. The Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act, H.R. 33, was introduced yesterday. 

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