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Harmful Algal Blooms: The Impact on Our Nation’s Waters

U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene a hearing entitled, “Harmful Algal Blooms: The Impact on Our Nation’s Waters,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. The hearing will examine Harmful Algal Bloom events in the U.S. and provide an update on current research, technology, and monitoring techniques.

Witnesses:

  • Dr. Don Anderson, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Director of the Coastal Ocean Institute
  • Mr. Ivory Engstrom, Director of Special Projects, McLane Research Labs, Inc.
  • Mr. Bryan Stubbs, Executive Director and President of the Board, Cleveland Water Alliance

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
2:30 p.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 www.commerce.senate.gov

Commerce Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Thank you, Mr. Chairman—and thank you, Senator Baldwin. This hearing comes as my state is grieving over senseless gun violence—yet again—and though I'm here, my heart is with Jacksonville. 

Florida is also facing environmental and economic harm where toxic algae is coating both coasts, killing all manner of sea life, making people sick and hurting businesses.

I’ve been to Stuart and smelled the stench.

I’ve talked to parents who worried about letting their children play outside.

I’ve met with business owners who are worried about what the algae will mean for their bottom lines. 

And I've got a stack of letters from Floridians here about the impact they are facing. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to enter these all into the record—but let me just read a line from one written by Christine Miller, the new owner of the Snook Hut Bait and Tackle shop in Cape Coral: "All those hundreds and thousands of dead fish due to the red tide and algae bloom decided not to go alone—they have taken all my business along with them."

Our storied white sand beaches should be lined with tourists, but instead they are lined with dead and rotting sea life, casualties from a massive noxious red tide event that’s lasted ten months and counting.

Over two thousand tons of dead fish and sea life have been removed from nearly one hundred and fifty miles of Florida’s world-renowned beaches this year alone. 

Dead tarpon. Dead manatees. A dead whale shark.

The pictures are horrifying enough, but I can tell you it’s worse in person. As a fifth-generation Floridian, it breaks my heart to see our beaches and rivers fouled like this.

This is not a partisan issue. I’ve worked for years with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to secure funding for research on algae blooms and projects to restore the Everglades to send the water south as Mother Nature intended. 

That’s why I’m pushing so hard for the House to act on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act. 

Senator Portman and I introduced this bill last year – and it passed the Senate unanimously. 

Last week, I joined my colleague Senator Rubio in filing a bill to require a coordinated scientific strategy to address toxic algae in South Florida and the Everglades.

These are each pieces of the broader puzzle. 

And as we act at the federal level to restore and clean up the environment, the state must not add more fuel to the fire.

I’d like to thank the chairman for convening this hearing today. 

I’d also like to welcome our witness Patrick Neu. He lives in Wisconsin but he also comes to fish down in my state of Florida. I know he’ll have a unique perspective on this issue. Mr. Neu, I look forward to hearing from you and the rest of our distinguished panel.

DOI and NOAA Seek Comments on Proposed Rules to Revise Endangered Species Act Regulations

Office of Advocacy - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 4:12pm

On July 25, 2018, the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) published proposed rules to revise various endangered species act (ESA) provisions.

The first rule is a revision of the regulations for listing species and designating critical habitat under section 4 of the ESA. The proposed rule would adopt as regulations existing practice, and potentially modify the definitions of “geographical area occupied by the species” and/or “physical or biological features.”

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

FDA-Mandated Listing of Drug Prices in Ads Would Flunk Legal and Constitutional Tests

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 08/27/2018 - 10:49am
We’ve read with amusement the recent, overblown claims of some constitutional-law commentators and even U.S. Supreme Court justices that the First Amendment has been “weaponized” as a tool of deregulation. Of course, First Amendment challenges increasingly have become indispensable as politicians and regulators target more and more speech rather than regulate conduct directly. Consider, for …

Continue reading FDA-Mandated Listing of Drug Prices in Ads Would Flunk Legal and Constitutional Tests

Categories: Latest News

Commerce Announces Markup on August 29

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, August 29, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. to consider the following legislative measures and nominations.

Click here for additional information on nominees.

Agenda:

1.    S. 1965, Allowing Alaska IVORY Act, Sponsor: Sens. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

2.    S. 2773, Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act, Sponsors: Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) 

3.    S. 3367, Department of Transportation Reports Harmonization Act, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)

4.    H.R. 4323, Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act, Sponsors: Reps. Neal Dunn (R-Fla.), Ralph Lee Abraham (R-La.), Brian Babin (R-Texas), Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Elizabeth Etsy (D-Conn.), Stephen Knight (R-Calif.), Barry Loudermilk (R-Ga.), Roger Marshal (R-Kan.), Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas), Lamar Smith (R-Texas), Mark Takano (D-Calif.) 

4.    Nomination of Rick Dearborn, of Oklahoma, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors

5.    Nomination of Kelvin Droegemeier, of Oklahoma, to be Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy

6.    Nomination of James Morhard, of Virginia, to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration

7.    Nomination of Joel Szabat, of Maryland, to be an Assistant Secretary of Transportation

*Agenda subject to change

Executive Session Details:

Wednesday, August 29, 2018
10:00 a.m.
Full Committee Markup
Senate Dirksen Building, Room G50
 
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov.

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Good morning. I would like to welcome our distinguished panel to today’s hearing. We will be considering the nominations of Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier [Droh-guh-meyer] to be the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, Mr. Jim Morhard [More-hard] to be the Deputy Administrator at NASA, and Mr. Joel Szabat [Zuh-baht] to be Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation and International Affairs. I would also like to thank Leader McConnell, Senator Lankford, and Secretary LaHood for being here today to provide introductions for the nominees, and I’d like to welcome the nominees’ families and friends who are joining us today.

Dr. Droegemeier is an accomplished scientist and has an extensive background in academia as well as public service at the federal and state levels. Should he be confirmed, he will advise the President on scientific, engineering, and technological aspects of major policies across the federal government. Dr. Droegemeier’s scientific background is predominantly in atmospheric science and weather prediction, receiving his Bachelor of Science in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma and his Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Currently, he serves as the Vice President for Research, the Weathernews Chair Emeritus of Applied Meteorology, and the Director Emeritus of the Center for Analysis and Prediction of Storms at his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. In addition, he also serves on the Oklahoma Governor’s Science and Technology Council and as the Governor’s Cabinet Secretary of Science and Technology.

Dr. Droegemeier is well-known to the Senate Commerce Committee. He previously worked with us as we developed the bipartisan American Innovation and Competitiveness Act, when he testified before the Committee to make policy recommendations and notably said that we had “made science bipartisan again.” He has also previously testified before the Committee regarding science and the U.S. economy and on hurricane research. Dr. Droegemeier has twice been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, each time by voice vote. The first time as a Bush nominee and the second as an Obama nominee to the National Science Board, serving his last term as Vice Chairman. Dr. Droegemeier is eminently well qualified to lead OSTP, and I look forward to the Senate confirming him quickly to this position, which has been vacant since January of 2017.

Jim Morhard [More-hard] is also well-known to many of us, having spent 25 years working in the U.S. Senate in numerous capacities. Mr. Morhard currently serves as the Deputy Sergeant at Arms, but prior to this role, Mr. Morhard served as the Staff Director of the Senate Appropriations Committee. In that position, he helped to develop and negotiate multiple appropriations bills, which included funding for space flight, spacecraft control, and NASA communications. As a testament to his reputation on the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Leahy has submitted a letter of support for Mr. Morhard’s nomination in which he says, “Based on my experience with Jim on the Appropriations Committee, if confirmed, NASA can expect to have a Deputy Administrator who will push an agenda of common sense and cost-effective solutions.” Mr. Morhard’s reputation for bipartisanship, deep knowledge and experience in the federal budget and appropriations process, as well as his experience in managing large organizations, will undoubtedly serve NASA well, and I look forward to supporting his nomination.

Finally, Mr. Szabat [Zuh-baht] has a distinguished and lengthy career in the Federal Government, particularly at DOT, that makes him uniquely qualified for the position to which he has been nominated. Mr. Szabat currently serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, and has been fulfilling the responsibilities of the position to which he has been nominated since January 2018. If confirmed, one of his primary responsibilities will be to develop policies to improve air service and access to the commercial aviation system for small and rural communities like Aberdeen, Pierre, and Watertown in my home state of South Dakota. As I’ve noted, we are honored to be joined today by our former colleague and the former Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood. Secretary LaHood is well known to this Committee as a bipartisan problem-solver, and his willingness to appear on behalf of Mr. Szabat, with whom he worked at the department, speaks volumes about the nominee’s qualifications.

As I have noted, all three of the nominees before the Committee today are exceptionally well-qualified for the positions to which they have been nominated, and if confirmed, will have an extraordinary opportunity to advance American progress in science, space, and transportation.

Once again, I would like to thank all of you for your willingness to serve in these important jobs, and I turn now to the Ranking Member for his opening remarks.

Nominations Hearing

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing at 10: 15 a.m. on Thursday, August 23, 2018, to consider three presidential nominees. 

Completed nomination questionnaires are available at www.commerce.senate.gov/nominations  

Witnesses:

  • Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier, of Oklahoma, to be the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy
  • Mr. James “Jim” Morhard, of Virginia, to be Deputy Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • Mr. Joel Szabat, of Maryland, to be Assistant Secretary for Aviation and Internal International Affairs at the Department of Transportation

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details:

Thursday, August 23, 2018
10: 15 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 www.commerce.senate.gov.

Ranking Member Bill Nelson Opening Statement

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding this hearing to consider nominees who are of paramount importance to space, science and aviation.  

Gentlemen, welcome and congratulations on your nominations. I appreciate your willingness to serve. 

Mr. Morhard, should you be confirmed, your experience managing the complex and critical security activities in the Senate will come in handy at NASA, as will your experience reviewing programs and negotiating budgets in the Senate Appropriations Committee. 

Mr. Chairman, Senator Leahy wanted to be here today to introduce Mr. Morhard but he had a conflict, so I’d like to ask unanimous consent that his introduction of Mr. Morhard be included in the record.  

The lives of our brave astronauts and the success of our most challenging and ambitious science missions will depend on your and Administrator Bridenstine’s ability to run the agency effectively. If confirmed, I would urge you to seek out the counsel of career professionals at the agency like Bill Gerstenmaier and Bob Cabana. 

We will also consider the nomination of Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier to be the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. 

Dr. Droegemeier, there is no question in my mind as to your qualifications. 

Indeed, Norm Augustine and Neal Lane wrote the committee saying you would be “an outstanding science advisor in any administration,” and that’s a pretty solid endorsement coming from those two.  

On a personal note, Dr. Droegemeier, your work on extreme weather is of course very important to the people of Florida, and I appreciate you working with me to improve ways to get people to respond to hurricane warnings. 

If confirmed, you have a tough task ahead of you, but as far as I’m concerned, I’d be happy for you to go over to the White House and start this afternoon!

And last, but not least we will also consider the nomination of Mr. Joel Szabat to serve at DOT. The office that you would be heading covers a wide array of aviation matters important to members of this committee and throughout Congress.  

Mr. Szabat, I appreciate your many years of public service, including your service to this country in the U.S. Army, and look forward to working with you – especially as we hope to move an FAA reauthorization bill in the near future.

Small Business Committee Offers to Partner with USDA Task Force on Rural America

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 08/23/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Subcommittee Chairmen Rod Blum (R-IA), and Dave Brat (R-VA) sent a letter to the Honorable Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), urging USDA to utilize the Committee’s findings from previous hearings to help rural America increase access to capital, improve quality of life, advance rural workforce development, and progress technological innovation.

“Ensuring the prosperity of rural America is vital to our nation’s long term economic vitality. Although many of our nation’s largest cities are creating new businesses at an impressive rate, and economic growth is strong nationally, startup rates, capital access, and economic vitality lag in rural America. The House Small Business Committee is actively examining the challenges facing rural small business owners, especially as they pertain to access to capital. I’m proud we’re working to ensure obstacles are removed so rural small businesses can start and grow, and we hope to work together to ensure rural America’s economic vitality for decades to come.”

Background: Last month, the Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access and the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade met for a joint hearing titled, “Investing in Rural America.”

Additionally, USDA is continuing to improve the economic growth of rural America through their Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force.

To read the entire letter, click here

Subcommittee to Examine the Impacts of Harmful Algal Blooms

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene a hearing entitled, “Harmful Algal Blooms: The Impact on Our Nation’s Waters,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 28, 2018. The hearing will examine Harmful Algal Bloom events in the U.S. and provide an update on current research, technology, and monitoring techniques.

Witnesses:

  • Dr. Don Anderson, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Director of the Coastal Ocean Institute
  • Mr. Ivory Engstrom, Director of Special Projects, McLane Research Labs, Inc.
  • Mr. Bryan Stubbs, Executive Director and President of the Board, Cleveland Water Alliance

*Witness list subject to change.

Hearing Details: 

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
2:30 p.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 www.commerce.senate.gov

ICYMI: NDAA Becomes Law, Includes Small Business Provisions

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 08/22/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Recently, the President signed into law the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2019, which included several small business provisions.

“Our nation demands a vital small business industrial base: it is fundamental to the health of our nation as a whole.  I am grateful to the House Armed Services Committee for working with the Small Business Committee and I look forward to continuing that relationship to ensure that small businesses provide the Department of Defense and the federal government with competitive solutions to support critical programs,” said House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH).

Versions of the following bills were included in FY19 NDAA:

  • H.R. 2056, the Microloan Modernization Act
  • H.R. 4754, the Change Order Transparency for Federal Contractors Act
  • H.R. 5178, the Puerto Rico Small Business Contracting Assistance Act
  • Significant portions of H.R. 2763, the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer Improvements Act, were also included

The legislation is now Public Law Number 115-232.

Thune Statement on Proposed Rule Updates for Truck Drivers

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement on today’s announcement by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on proposed changes to hours of service (HOS) requirements for truckers.

Small Business Committee Requests Review of OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks in Construction

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 08/21/2018 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – Today, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Subcommittee Chairmen Rod Blum (R-IA), and Trent Kelly (R-MS) sent a letter to the Honorable R. Alexander Acosta, Secretary of the United States Department of Labor and Ms. Loren Sweatt, Deputy Assistant Secretary to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requesting a thorough review of the regulation and analysis of OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks in construction regulation and its impact on small businesses, as required by the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA).

“The Committee is concerned about the potential significant burdens OSHA’s Cranes and Derricks in Construction regulation could impose on small agricultural and propane businesses and the customers served by these important industries. Congress recognized that by treating all regulated businesses, organizations, and governmental jurisdictions as equivalent in the regulatory process, small entities were being disproportionately impacted by federal regulations and a one-size-fits all approach was not always the best solution.”

Background: During the House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade hearing on July 19, 2018, witnesses attested to the considerable impact of the regulation and discussed the bureaucracy attributed to routine construction industry standards.

To read the entire letter, click here

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