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Fischer to Chair Transportation Security Subcommittee Hearing

The hearing will examine potential security vulnerabilities in the U.S. transportation system and efforts to guard against the threat of terrorism targeting surface transportation infrastructure.

Thune: Wilbur Ross Brings Exceptional Business Experience to the Dept. of Commerce

“Wilbur Ross will bring exceptional real-world business experience to the Department of Commerce as part of an administration that emphasizes job creation and the economy. I welcome the President-elect’s choice and expect the Senate Commerce Committee will expeditiously consider this nomination once the new Congress begins in January."

Thune Statement on STB Action to Increase Transparency in Rail Industry

“These common-sense performance reporting requirements will bring greater transparency to the industry, which will in turn help everyone in the supply chain – from the producer all the way to the consumer.”

Throughout history, mankind has refused

Throughout history, mankind has refused to accept the complacency of the status quo and has instead looked to harness creativity and imagination to reshape the world through innovation and disruption.
The Industrial Revolution, Henry Ford’s moving assembly line, the invention of flight and commercial aviation, and more recently, the creation of the Internet- have all acted as disruptive forces that have not only changed the way we live but have been engines for commerce that have offered consumers enormous freedom.
Today, we are on the verge of a new technological revolution thanks to rapid advances in processing power, the rise of “big data”, cloud computing, mobility due to increased wireless capability and advanced algorithms.
Many believe that that there may not be a single technology that will shape our world more in the next 50 years than artificial intelligence.
In fact, some have observed that as powerful and transformative as the Internet has been, it may best be remembered as the predicate for artificial intelligence and machine learning.
Artificial intelligence is at an inflection point. While the concept of artificial intelligence has been around for 60 years, more recent breakthroughs such as IBM’s chess-playing Deep Blue victory over world champion Garry Kasparov, advancements in speech recognition, the emergence of self-driving cars and IBM’s computer Watson’s victory in the TV game show “Jeopardy!” have brought artificial intelligence from mere concept to reality.
Whether we recognize it or not, artificial intelligence is already seeping into our daily lives.
In the health care sector, artificial intelligence is increasingly being used to predict diseases at an earlier stage, thereby allowing the use of preventative treatment which can help lead to better patient outcomes, faster healing and lower costs.
In transportation, artificial intelligence is not only being used in smarter traffic management applications to reduce traffic, but is also set to disrupt the automotive industry through the emergence of self driving vehicles.
Consumers can harness the power of artificial intelligence through online search engines and virtual personal assistants via smart devices such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home.
Artificial intelligence also has the potential to contribute to economic growth in both the near and long term. A 2016 Accenture report predicted that artificial intelligence could double annual economic growth rates by 2035 and boost labor productivity by up to 40 percent.
Furthermore, market research firm Forrester recently predicted that there will be a greater than 300 percent increase in investment in artificial intelligence in 2017 compared to 2016.
While the emergence of artificial intelligence has the opportunity to improve our lives, it will also have vast implications for our country and the American people that Congress will need to consider moving forward.
Workplaces will encounter new opportunities thanks to productivity enhancements. As artificial intelligence becomes more pervasive, Congress will need to consider its privacy implications. There is also a growing interest in this technology from foreign governments who are looking to harness this technology to give their countries a competitive advantage on the world stage.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
Today, the United States is the preeminent leader in developing artificial intelligence. But that could soon change. According to the Wall Street Journal, “the biggest buzz in China’s Internet industry isn’t about besting global tech giants by better adapting existing business models for the Chinese market. Rather, it’s about competing head-to-head with the U.S. and other tech powerhouses in the hottest area of technological innovation: artificial intelligence.”
Ceding leadership in developing artificial intelligence to China, Russia and other foreign governments will not only place the United States at a technological disadvantage but it could also have implications for national security.
We are truly living in the dawn of artificial intelligence and it is incumbent that Congress and this subcommittee being to learn about the vast implications of this emerging technology to ensure that the United States remains a global leader throughout the 21st Century.
I look forward to hearing from our expert witnesses today and will yield to our subcommittee’s ranking member Gary Peters to give an opening statement.

Ranking Member Nelson Opening Remarks

Good afternoon and thank you Chairman Cruz.  I appreciate you calling this hearing to discuss the important topic of artificial intelligence (AI).  The first thing many people think when they hear the words “artificial intelligence” is of having their own personal robot, or, that the machines are coming to get us.

Well, the machines are here, but not in the ways that most people think, and they certainly have not come to get us – at least not yet.  AI has done some good things.  AI has allowed better credit card fraud protection, better detection and treatment of diseases, and helps NASA explore the cosmos.  AI has helped to improve the daily lives of many people in this country.

But, as the technology improves and rapidly expands, many around the country, including this senator, have real and serious concerns about how jobs might be lost to artificial intelligence.   Elon Musk mentioned this dilemma recently in an interview with CNBC when he predicted robots could eventually take so many jobs away from folks that they would have to depend on the government to make ends meet.  Elon used the example of truck drivers, who could be displaced in the future by autonomous vehicle advancements that allow trucks to drive themselves.

Well, nobody wants to be told they’re going to lose their job to a robot.  I’m not sure even Elon himself would like the idea of a robot replacing him in the executive suite.

It’s a centuries old challenge we face - ensuring new technology doesn’t create more harm than good – in this case making sure that more jobs aren’t lost than created.    That’s why we’re here today – to explore the benefits and downsides of AI and what can be done going forward to minimize the impacts to Americans whose jobs may be at risk as newer technologies emerge.  

I look forward to hearing from our panel members and would like to hear from each of you on how you think the growth of AI will affect jobs.

Thune Statement on Naming of Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation Designee

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, released the following statement on President-elect Donald Trump’s intention to nominate Elaine Chao as the next Secretary of Transportation.

GSA announces shortlist of sites for the new Department of Labor (DOL) headquarters, continues to explore options for exchange

GSA news releases - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 12:00am
GSA announces shortlist of sites for the new Department of Labor (DOL) headquarters, continues to explore options for exchange

GSA Awards Contract for New Human Resource (HR) and Time and Attendance (T&A) Systems

GSA news releases - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 12:00am
GSA Awards Contract for New Human Resource (HR) and Time and Attendance (T&A) Systems

FY 2017 Verification and Validation Forms

Office of Advocacy - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 3:45pm

View supporting documentation for performance indicators.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

FY 2016 Verification and Validation Forms

Office of Advocacy - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 3:10pm

View supporting documentation for performance indicators.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Senate Sends Legislation Protecting Consumer Reviews to President

The U.S. Senate, by unanimous consent, sent bicameral legislation to the White House for the President’s signature that will outlaw the use of “gag clauses” in non-negotiable form contracts. Some businesses have attracted national scrutiny for using gag clauses to punish or silence honest criticism of products and services.

CFPB Proposal Unconstitutionally Imposes Prior Restraint on Regulated Entities’ Speech

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 9:58am
Guest Commentary By Burt M. Rublin, Partner, and Daniel L. Delnero, Associate, Ballard Spahr LLP Prior restraints on speech are highly disfavored and presumptively unconstitutional. See Tory v. Cochran, 544 U.S. 734, 738 (2005) (“Prior restraints on speech and publication are the most serious and the least tolerable infringement on First Amendment rights.”). Yet the […]
Categories: Latest News

Court Enjoins Implementation of Overtime Regulation

Office of Advocacy - Mon, 11/28/2016 - 9:16am

Court Enjoins Implementation of Overtime Regulation

On May 23, 2016, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division published a final rule in the Federal Register that updated the Overtime Regulations under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), specifically the exemptions for executive, administrative and professional employees.  The final rule implemented a 2014 Presidential Memorandum directing the Department to update and modernize these regulations.  

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Bad-Faith Federal Litigation Tactics Compel Court to Award Small Business Attorneys’ Fees

WLF Legal Pulse - Fri, 11/25/2016 - 4:37pm
Tomorrow is “Small Business Saturday,” (November 26), so it’s a good time to reflect upon the especially challenging regulatory and legal environments such businesses have faced in recent years. Even though the federal government maintains an entire agency whose mission is purportedly to assist small businesses—the Small Business Administration—regulators seem ever oblivious to their impact […]
Categories: Latest News

Chabot in Forbes: For Small Business Saturday, A Plan For Regulatory Easing

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 11/23/2016 - 12:00am
For Small Business Saturday, A Plan For Regulatory Easing

By Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH)
November 23, 2016
Forbes Opinion

America’s 28 million small businesses are the keystone of our economy.

This weekend, we will celebrate Small Business Saturday, an opportunity to recognize America’s entrepreneurs and rededicate ourselves to helping them prosper.

We can support them through our patronage and with good public policy that will help them achieve prosperity.

Small businesses create nearly seven out of every ten new private sector jobs and employ half the private sector work force. They represent 99.7% of all U.S. businesses with employees and have created 63% of the net new jobs over the last 20 years.

They are mom-and-pop stores, restaurants, tech startups, family farms, factories, manufacturers and everything in between. And they have taken a beating over the last eight years.

Burdensome regulations, combined with over-taxation and over-litigation, have made it harder than ever for small businesses to get off the ground and stay off the ground.

As Chairman of the House Small Business Committee, I have heard firsthand from the owners and employees of these small businesses how these new regulations have harmed them personally.

In our hearing room and from our constituents across the nation, we have heard how the Obama administration has gone on a regulatory rampage against small businesses. For each year, the administration’s major rules have cost over $100 billion annually. A disproportionate share of those enormous costs have fallen on America’s small businesses.

These entrepreneurs do not have the same resources as big corporations and cannot afford to hire accountants, lawyers and lobbyists to help them navigate all these new regulations. As a result, small businesses get hit worst and first by new rules and regulations.

Throughout the Obama administration, there has been a terrible disconnect between the Washington bureaucrats who write these new regulations and the small businesses who must live under them.

These entrepreneurs do not have the same resources as big corporations and cannot afford to hire accountants, lawyers and lobbyists to help them navigate all these new regulations. As a result, small businesses get hit worst and first by new rules and regulations.

Albert Macre, a small business owner from my home state of Ohio, said it best when he testified before our Committee this year about the Department of Labor’s sweeping new overtime rule:

“I now find myself standing with countless other small business owners forced to swallow more government 'medication' prescribed before an accurate attempt at diagnosis has been completed,” Macre said.

“From a personal perspective, this rule is likely to have negative consequences - not only to my company, but to my employees as well,” the small businessman warned.

Fortunately for Macre and millions of small business owners, there is a better way.

Throughout 2016, I have been working with my House Republican colleagues to put together a specific agenda to ease the regulatory burden on America’s small businesses. It’s called “A Better Way to Grow our Economy.”

Our plan cuts reams of unnecessary, burdensome red tape so small businesses can focus on what they do best: creating jobs and spurring economic growth. It calls for a new and better approach to federal rulemaking. Our approach is to have smart, efficient and easy-to-understand rules that always take into account the impacts and costs to small businesses.

I firmly believe that together, we can get Washington back in the business of helping small businesses instead of hurting them. A Better Way is the blueprint for that effort.

This Small Business Saturday, my message to our small businesses is to take heart: Regulatory relief is on the way.


GSA announces Congressional authorization of Harrisburg, PA Courthouse

GSA news releases - Wed, 11/23/2016 - 12:00am
GSA announces Congressional authorization of Harrisburg, PA Courthouse

Supreme Court Given Opportunity to Clarify Specific Personal Jurisdiction

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 11/22/2016 - 12:17pm
Guest Commentary By Eric D. Miller, Partner, Perkins Coie LLP* A pending petition for a writ of certiorari presents the United States Supreme Court with an opportunity to clarify whether a state may exercise personal jurisdiction over a nonresident defendant based solely on the defendant’s sale of components to third parties who incorporate those parts […]
Categories: Latest News

Commerce Announces First Artificial Intelligence Hearing

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing on Wednesday, November 30, 2016, at 2:30 p.m. on “The Dawn of Artificial Intelligence.” The hearing will conduct a broad overview of the state of artificial intelligence, including policy implications and effects on commerce.

Upton & Thune Request Pause on Controversial Regulations

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.) today sent letters to both Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Edith Ramirez and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Chairman Elliot Kaye requesting a pause on any controversial new regulations.


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