WASHINGTON – Today, the House Committee on Small Business held a hearing to examine how federal agencies can encourage greater information sharing with small businesses and provide timely assistance and resources when a cyber attack on a small business occurs.
“This Committee has heard from experts, government officials, and small business owners on numerous occasions that cyber threats remain a top concern for America’s small business community. Information sharing is a fundamental component for a strong and effective cybersecurity defense, not just for small businesses but for America’s network as a whole. The federal government must make every effort possible to ensure that small businesses have both the resources and the confidence they need to actively engage with the federal agencies tasked with protecting our critical infrastructure,” said Chairman Chabot (R-OH).
Cyber Threats Remain a Top Concern for Small Businesses
While the federal government has made a serious effort to coordinate and distribute cyber security resources directly to small businesses, challenges still remain in ensuring that they are protected from cyber attacks.
“Small businesses are extremely resourceful. Having quality incident reporting and cyber intelligence flowing to the small business community lets us build solutions for ourselves. Our biggest challenge, in that regard, is collecting and aggregating data from a wide array of sources,” said Rob Arnold, CEO & Founder of Threat Sketch, LLC in Winston-Salem, NC.
“Recent ransomware attacks have been devastating with 1 in 5 companies forced to immediately shut down operations for three days and in some cases, more than two weeks, said Ola Sage, Founder and CEO of e-Management and Co-Founder and CEO of CyberRx in Silver Spring, MD. ”Solving this problem requires greater information sharing between the government and the SMB community to help companies better identify threats, protect their infrastructure, detect anomalies, respond to, and recover from significant cyber events.”
“In 2014, 71 percent of companies admitted they fell victim to a successful cyber-attack. Meanwhile, the amount of data online is expected to increase 50-fold by 2020, signaling accelerated tech innovation but also adding new attack vectors due to increased connectivity and a sweetening of the pot for potential cyber criminals. Cybersecurity risk management strategies must keep pace with this growing threat – a task that evolves as more online traffic and commerce is dedicated to the internet of things,” said Morgan Reed, President of ACT | The App Association in Washington, DC.
“We have to acknowledge the fact that for most small businesses, cybersecurity is an expense they don’t want to incur when they’re trying to simply make payroll and remain profitable,” said Thomas Gann, Chief Public Policy Officer of McAfee, LLC in Reston, VA. “This doesn’t mean that small businesses don’t need or can’t benefit from cyber threat intelligence; they certainly can. But perhaps we should focus our discussion more on sharing a different kind of information – information that is more informative and educational right away.”
Opening Statement by Rep. Virginia Fox (R-NC) | Hearing on “Examining the Policies and the Priorities of the U.S. Department of Labor”
The Department of Labor is on the frontline of the issues facing workers and job creators, and it sets policies that have a widespread impact on our nation’s economy, employment growth, retirement security, and more.
Whether they relate to health care, worker protections, retirement planning, workforce development, or employee wages and benefits — it is the responsibility of this committee to ensure those policies are in the best interest of workers, employers, and taxpayers.
I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again: No matter what party controls the administration – this committee is dedicated to robust oversight. We take our oversight responsibilities very seriously. Today’s hearing is the latest step in our effort to hold federal government officials accountable.
The American people are counting on that accountability, especially at a time when the economy is still improving. We are all encouraged by the economic growth we have seen this year. In the third quarter of 2017, real GDP increased at an annual rate of 3 percent. That is a remarkable improvement, considering it’s twice as much as the mere 1.5 percent growth rate we saw during the final year of the Obama administration.
It’s also great to see more and more Americans getting back to work. Nearly 1.5 million jobs have been added since February. Meaningful progress has been made, but there’s no question we have more work to do after eight years of lost opportunity.
However, even though the unemployment rate is down, we still have 6.5 million workers out of work, including 1.6 million on a long-term basis. 4.8 million workers are working part-time because their hours have been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
At the same time, we have 6.1 million jobs unfilled, due in part to our nation’s skills gap. Expanding pathways to career success is a critical component to closing this gap and helping more Americans find good-paying jobs. That’s why Congress and the administration have made workforce development and skills-based education a leading priority.
This week happens to be National Apprenticeship Week, and so we are eager to hear from you, Mr. Secretary, on the steps the department plans to take to promote apprenticeships and other skills-based education programs.
This is something our committee has been focused on for quite some time now, and it is encouraging to have a partner in the White House and the Department of Labor. We look forward to further discussion of how we can work together to expand educational opportunities and empower more Americans to realize their God-given potential.
In addition, I hope that you will be able to provide committee members and the public with your views about the department’s efforts to advance economic opportunities for workers by strengthening workplace democracy, ensuring safe and healthy workplaces, enhancing retirement security, and providing workers and employers with more affordable health care options.
We are also very interested in hearing more about the department’s regulatory and enforcement agenda. This committee spent the early part of this year advancing resolutions under the Congressional Review Act to clean up the mess from the Obama administration and deliver regulatory relief for hardworking men and women.
In fact, five out of fourteen of the CRA resolutions that were signed into law originated from this committee. And just last week, the House passed the Save Local Business Act to roll back the Obama-era joint employer scheme that threatens 1.7 million jobs, according to the American Action Forum.
We know the department has its work cut out after eight years of an unprecedented regulatory rampage. But we look forward to building on the progress we’ve made together so we can get government out of the way and unleash prosperity and opportunity.
There are also a number of issues impacting retirement security that deserve our attention. This includes the need to protect access to affordable retirement advice and empower more Americans to plan for the future.
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(As prepared for delivery)
Good morning. Welcome to the subcommittee’s hearing on “Technology in Agriculture: Data-Driven Farming.” The subcommittee will come to order.
Thank you for being here today to discuss the advancements and benefits of agricultural technology and the potential of “Big Data” in farming.
The agricultural community’s adoption of field sensors, drones, satellite imagery, advanced machinery and similar technology is increasing at an incredible pace to increase crop yields and improve sustainable practices. The most profitable farms are often the most sustainable ones. This rapidly evolving technology will have a vital role in preserving farmers’ most important asset, their land, with the potential to increase farmers’ margins to unprecedented levels.
The collection and analysis of data has enabled farmers to reduce costs through more efficient applications of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides; improve production decisions through enhanced recordkeeping and more accurate yield predictions; and enhance land stewardship and sustainable practices by removing inefficiencies in planting, harvesting, water use and the allocation of other resources. With an increasing volume of quality data, in tandem with improved data analysis, data-collecting technology has the potential to drastically increase farm productivity and profitability.
The collection and use of such data raises issues regarding control of the data, the transparency of agreements between farmers and data firms and barriers to expanding internet access in rural areas.
Additionally, as data collection and sharing practices become more popular across the agriculture economy, farmers are well-positioned to benefit from the “commoditization” of data collected from their land, especially as equipment manufacturers, service providers, cooperatives and other businesses seek to access and utilize this data.
My goal for this hearing is to educate and empower our nation’s farmers to understand the value of the information they are creating.
It is my pleasure to introduce our panel today. Thank you all for being here.
Mr. Justin Knopf is a farmer from Gypsum, Kansas, and he grows wheat, alfalfa, soybeans, grain sorghum, corn and multi-species cover crops. As a part of his sustainability-focused farming operations, he practices what is commonly referred to as “no-till” farming and utilizes a variety of technologies that assist his monitoring efforts to be a good steward of the land while improving his yield.
Mr. Jason Tatge is the Co-Founder and CEO of Farmobile, a technology firm based in Overland Park, Kansas. His company’s services provide farmers with real-time access to and ownership of current and historical data pertaining to their land. By providing a user-friendly, simplified yet comprehensive overview of relevant data, Farmobile’s customers are able to make educated decisions in a timely fashion.
Dr. Shannon Ferrell is an Associate Professor at Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics. He also serves as the agricultural industry representative to the Oklahoma Environmental Quality Board, which oversees the operation of the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality.
Mr. Todd Janzen is President of Janzen Agricultural Law, LLC and the Administrator of the Ag Data Transparency project. This project makes available the Ag Data Transparency Evaluator, which aims to provide clarity to consumers as to what businesses do with the data that is shared with them.
Dr. Dorota Haman is a Professor and Chair of the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering at the University of Florida. She specializes in irrigation water management and efficiencies, and has been an active leader in providing irrigation technology to developing countries in the Americas and Africa.
I look forward to hearing the testimonies of this expert witness panel. I now turn to my colleague Ranking Member Blumenthal for his opening remarks.
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, & Data Security, will convene a hearing titled “Technology in Agriculture: Data-Driven Farming,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, 2017. The hearing will examine the potential benefits of advancements in agricultural technology and the collection and utilization of data in farming.
- Dr. Shannon Ferrell, Associate Professor, Oklahoma State University
- Mr. Todd J. Janzen, President, Janzen Agricultural Law, LLC
- Mr. Justin Knopf, Vice President, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers
- Mr. Jason Tatge, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Farmobile
Tuesday, November 14, 2017
Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, Insurance, & Data Security
This hearing will take place in Russell Senate Office Building, Room 253. Witness testimony, opening statements, and a live video of the hearing will be available on www.commerce.senate.gov.
WASHINGTON—Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) released the following statement regarding the passage of the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) conference report:
“Not only does the NDAA include the largest pay increase for our nation’s armed forces, it also is a win for America’s 29 million small businesses,” said Chairman Steve Chabot. “Small businesses play a vital and indispensable role in providing for the common defense, and I thank both Chambers for recognizing their contribution to the safety of our homeland.”
Among other beneficial small business provisions, versions of the following bills were included in the FY2018 NDAA:
- H.R. 1773, the Clarity for America’s Small Contractors Act of 2017, sponsored by Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), co-sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
- H.R. 3294, the HUBZone Unification and Business Stability Act of 2017, sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
- H.R. 1597, the Commercial Market Representatives Clarification Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA), co-sponsored by Rep. Steve Knight (R-CA) and Rep. Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
- H.R. 1640, the Unifying Small Business Terminology Act of 2017, sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)
- H.R. 1693, the Improving Contract Procurement for Small Businesses through More Accurate Reporting Act of 2017, sponsored by Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), co-sponsored by Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
WASHINGTON—Today, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and the House Committee on Small Business held a bipartisan roundtable to hear from advanced small and mid-tier businesses and industry experts on the challenges to growth and success.
“After a small business has proven its success by growing out of its small size standard, it exists in a murky limbo – it is too large to benefit from small business set-asides, yet is too small to compete with billion dollar firms,” said Chairman Steve Chabot. “Our goal is to learn more about what is happening to advanced small—or mid-tier—businesses.”
The roundtable provided a forum for Members to learn about this middle market and the disparities from small to mid-tier business owners, academia, trade organizations, and subject-matter experts.Data on these mid-tier companies is minimal, but preliminary evidence shows these firms are limited to a few options: relegate themselves to subcontracting opportunities; sell the company to a larger firm; or try to compete in full and open markets.
WASHINGTON – Last week, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) wrote an op-ed for the Hill on veterans starting small businesses once they return from the battlefield, and the tools they need to succeed.
“When our nation’s military men and women return home after service, they not only deserve our gratitude, but often times need our help. Many who return do so with the dream of starting their own business. Not surprisingly, those who have served in the military already possess many of the same skills – such as leadership, discipline and fortitude - that make great entrepreneurs and business owners. Once they return, they just need the tools and resources to see their dream through,” said Chairman Chabot.
Chabot continued, “As Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, I recognize how important it is to celebrate America’s veteran entrepreneurs and the contributions they have made to our economy. Each year, we do so during Veterans Small Business Week, particularly because the 2.5 million veteran-owned businesses in the U.S. hire more than 5 million employees.”
To continue reading the full article, click HERE.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), chairman of the Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, and Coast Guard, will convene a hearing titled “Coast Guard Readiness: How Far Can We Stretch Our Nation’s Only Multi-Mission, Military Force?” at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, November 16, 2017. The hearing will examine the Coast Guard’s role in preparation and response to recent natural disasters that have impacted the U.S. mainland and territories, as well as other strains on the Coast Guard, including drug enforcement, icebreaking, safety of navigation, oil spill response, and non-maritime emergency response.
- Admiral Paul Zukunft, Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard
- Ms. Etta Kuzakin, King Cove, AK
- Dr. Guy Meadows, Michigan Technological University
- Mr. Lee Smithson, Mississippi Emergency Management Agency
Thursday, November 16, 2017
Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries, & 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.
WASHINGTON- This week, Congressman Bill Johnson (R-OH) wrote an op-ed on why lawmakers need to finish the year strong by providing tax cuts for small businesses.
“Here in Ohio, small businesses are an especially big deal. A whopping 99.6 percent of our companies are small businesses, according to figures from the U.S. Small Business Administration. They employ over two million Ohioans, making up 46 percent of all employees in-state. In the latest Kauffman Foundation rankings, Columbus and Cleveland both placed in the top-30 metro areas nationwide for entrepreneurial growth rates,” said Johnson.
Johnson continued, “In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Small Business Committee is chaired by Ohio’s very own Rep. Steve Chabot. He’s well aware that small businesses – and the economic growth they provide – are being held back by onerous taxes.”
Click HERE to read the full article.
Additionally, in July Chairman Chabot sent a letter to the Ways and Means Committee requesting that small businesses have a voice in tax reform.
Advocacy to Host Regulatory Roundtable for Small Business in Manchester, NH
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, November 28th, the Office of Advocacy of the Small Business Administration will host a roundtable in Manchester, New Hampshire. The event will begin at 1:00 p.m. in the Manchester Public Library located at 405 Pine Street.
Good morning. Now that our executive session is complete, we turn to the issue of data breaches.
Data breach is not a new issue for the Committee to explore. In fact, the Committee has been focused on the consumer impact of data breaches since before I was elected to the U.S. Senate.
The September 2004 ChoicePoint breach, what many consider to be the first high-profile data breach of the modern era, prompted a number of investigations from this Committee, the FTC, and federal and state authorities.
For those that don’t remember, ChoicePoint was a data aggregation company originally created by Equifax, who as fate would have it, is represented here today. In terms of the trajectory of congressional inquiry into major data breaches, you might say we have come full circle.
In the intervening years, Congress, and this Committee in particular, have paid close attention to data breaches big and small. In addition, the Committee has entertained a variety of proposals to strengthen data security requirements for companies across the board, as well as to impose federal requirements for affected companies to notify their consumers following the discovery of a breach.
Sadly, we are truly in the era of major data breaches. These include the large-scale breaches at Equifax and Yahoo! that we are examining today.
While the Yahoo! breaches are larger in terms of affected consumers, the Equifax breach is potentially much more severe given the sensitive nature of the consumer information compromised. In fact, I have heard from many constituents in South Dakota who are concerned about the lasting effects of the Equifax breach. I have also heard complaints that it is difficult to set up a credit freeze, and questions about whether credit monitoring is an effective tool to prevent identity theft.
The Equifax breach reportedly exposed the sensitive personal data of about 145.5 million U.S. consumers, including their names, social security numbers, birth dates, addresses, and in some cases, driver’s license numbers.
Also exposed were the credit card numbers for more than 200,000 U.S. consumers and dispute documents containing personal identifying information for more than 180,000 U.S. consumers.
Today, Equifax will have an opportunity to provide an update regarding the breach, as well as its much-criticized efforts to mitigate the harm and prevent anything like this from happening again.
The Yahoo! breach we will discuss today compromised over 3 billion user accounts and followed a prior breach in which hackers stole similar types of information from at least 500 million users.
The compromised data included names, telephone numbers, dates of birth, partial passwords, unencrypted security questions and answers, backup e-mail addresses, and employment information.
The 3 billion figure constitutes the entirety of the Yahoo! Mail and other Yahoo!-owned accounts at the time of the breach.
Today Yahoo! representatives will have an opportunity to provide an update regarding these breaches as well as efforts to mitigate the harm and ensure the security of consumer data going forward.
The massive data breaches at Equifax and Yahoo! illustrate quite dramatically that our nation continues to face constantly evolving cyber threats to our personal data.
Companies that collect and store personal data on American citizens must step up to provide adequate cybersecurity. And there should be consequences if they fail to do so.
The Committee has made cybersecurity a priority, and I am hopeful that today’s hearing will help the Committee to better understand these challenges as it considers legislation to address data breach notification and data security issues. When there is risk of real harm stemming from a breach, we must make sure that consumers have the information they need to protect themselves.
That is why I support a uniform Federal breach notification standard to replace the patchwork of laws in 48 states, in addition to the District of Columbia and three other territories.
A single Federal standard would ensure all consumers are treated the same with regard to notification of data breaches that might cause them harm. Such a standard would also provide consistency and certainty regarding timely notification practices, benefiting both consumers and businesses.
In order to ensure that businesses secure information appropriately, I have also advocated for uniform, reasonable security requirements to protect consumer data, based on the size and scope of the company and the sensitivity of the information.
However, in this regard, the facts of the Equifax breach are particularly troubling. As a credit bureau, Equifax was already subject to the Safeguards Rule under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which is considered to be a stringent regulation.
Nevertheless, the Equifax breach occurred and its implications on American consumers appear dire.
Enhancing security and protecting the personal data of American consumers will continue to be a priority for this Committee. I want to thank all of the witnesses for appearing here today. I look forward to hearing your testimony.
I will now turn to Senator Nelson for his opening remarks.
Good morning. After today’s executive session, we will be holding a very important hearing focused on the Equifax and Yahoo! data breaches. As such, I am going to keep my remarks brief so that we can turn expeditiously to that important discussion.
But first, today’s agenda includes two legislative items and eight nominations.
The first agenda item, Senators Portman and Blumenthal’s Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017, is cosponsored by almost half of the Committee and seeks to address online sex trafficking while maintaining key operational pillars of the internet ecosystem.
Our earlier Committee hearing on this legislation featured powerful and thoughtful testimony outlining the need for this measure, and I am pleased that the Thune-Nelson-Blumenthal Substitute we are about to consider resolved the final technical changes needed to garner the support of many stakeholders, including the Internet Association.
Today’s eight well-qualified nominees will, if confirmed, fill a number of key vacancies including – Administrators of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; Assistant Secretary positions at the Department of Transportation and Department of Commerce; and memberships on the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the National Transportation Safety Board, and the Amtrak Board of Directors.
While these nominees have diverse backgrounds – including two Members of Congress; current and former members of the Armed Services; and distinguished careers in public service, academia, business, and the law – they all share the common desire to serve the American people to the best of their abilities.
I am hopeful that these accomplishments and their shared desire to serve our nation will be considered as we advance their nominations today.
With that, I will turn to Senator Nelson for any opening remarks.