Advocacy Appoints Joe Knilans to Serve as Advocate for Rural Affairs
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Thursday, January 18, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. in Hart 216 to consider the following presidential nominations.
Click here for additional information on nominees.
1. Nomination of Leon A. Westmoreland, of Georgia, to be a Director of the Amtrak Board of Directors for a term of five years
2. Nomination of Barry Lee Myers, of Pennsylvania, to be Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere
3. Nomination of Diana Furchtgott-Roth, of Maryland, to be an Assistant Secretary of Transportation
4. Nomination of Brendan Carr, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission for a term of five years from July 1, 2018
5. Nomination of Ann Marie Buerkle, to be Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), and to be a Commissioner of the CPSC for a term of seven years
6. Nomination of James Bridenstine, of Oklahoma, to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
7. Nomination of Dana Baiocco, of Ohio, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission for a term of seven years from October 27, 2017
*Agenda subject to change
Executive Session Details:
Thursday, January 18, 2018
Full Committee Markup
Senate Hart Building 216
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov.
USDA Releases Report from Rural Prosperity Task Force, Continues to Accept Comments on Existing Rules
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released its Agriculture and Rural Prosperity Task Force report on January 8, 2018. The findings outline legislative, regulatory, and policy issues surrounding five indicators including: E-Connectivity, Quality of Life, Rural Workforce, Technology, and Economic Development. The full report is available here.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a field hearing titled, “Driving Automotive Innovation and Federal Policies,” next week at the Washington Convention Center, prior to the opening of the 2018 Washington Auto Show. In advance of the industry-wide technology showcase, the field hearing, which was announced on October 20, 2017, will focus on self-driving and other auto technologies and issues on the horizon for lawmakers and regulators.
- Dr. Randy Avent, President, Florida Polytechnic University
- Mr. Tim Kentley-Klay, CEO and Founder, Zoox, Inc.
- Mr. Brian M. Krzanich, CEO, Intel Corporation
- Mr. Mike Mansuetti, President, Robert Bosch North America, Robert Bosch LLC
- Mr. Luke Schneider, President, Audi Mobility U.S.
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
Walter E. Washington Convention Center
801 Mt Vernon Pl NW
West Salon Room
Washington, DC 20001
The hearing is open to credentialed media and the public. 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 after the President issued a Presidential Memorandum directing the Department of the Interior to increase access to broadband tower facilities and other assets to support rural broadband deployment and an Executive Order streamlining broadband infrastructure installation in federally owned buildings:
“Traditionally, rural America has not kept pace with urban areas in large part because of its lack of access to reliable broadband. This week’s economic announcement will help small businesses in rural areas better compete with their urban counterparts and better serve their communities. Small businesses depend on new telecommunications technologies to compete not only in small towns but across the country and, in some cases, the world.”
Addressing the issue of rural broadband access has remained a priority for the Committee. Earlier this Congress, the Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy, and Trade held a hearing titled, “Improving Broadband Deployment Solutions for Rural America” to examine how to expand broadband to rural America. The Committee on Small Businesses will continue to work toward ensuring small businesses have the resources they need to succeed.
DOI Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement seeks comments on its Proposed Rule to Amend Oil and Gas Production Safety Systems
On December 29, 2017, the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) published a proposed rule to amend safety requirements under Subpart H of Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations in the Outer Continental Shelf. Specific revisions include but are not limited to clarifying failure reporting requirements, clarifying requirements for Class 1 vessels, and revising requirements for safety and pollution prevention equipment (SPPE). Comments are due by January 29, 2018.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled “Terrorism and Social Media: #IsBigTechDoingEnough?” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 17, 2018. The hearing will examine the steps social media platforms are taking to combat the spread of extremist propaganda over the Internet.
- Ms. Monika Bickert, Head of Global Policy Management, Facebook
- Ms. Juniper Downs, Global Head of Public Policy and Government Relations, YouTube
- Mr. Carlos Monje, Director, Public Policy and Philanthropy, Twitter
Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation
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.
Bipartisan, Bicameral Small Business Committee Leaders Introduce Legislation Protecting Integrity of 7(a) Loan Program
WASHINGTON – Today, House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH), Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Chairman Jim Risch (R-ID), and respective Ranking Members Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) joined together to introduce the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight and Reform Act of 2018. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will increase the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) oversight authority over the 7(a) Loan Program.
“Many small business owners are ready to turn their dream into a reality but face obstacles to finance it. One of the many ways they are able to get the capital they need is the 7(a) Loan Program. This legislation will allow SBA to keep a close watch on the program to ensure it is running efficiently and effectively while also protecting taxpayer dollars,” said Chairman Chabot.
“The 7(a) loan program has leveraged billions of dollars to help America’s small businesses thrive,” said Senator Risch. “By bolstering the SBA’s oversight office and providing the Administrator with flexibility to increase the program’s maximum lending authority in the event it would be reached, this bill will ensure the strength of the program into the future, guaranteeing that entrepreneurs will have access to the critical capital they need to build and grow their businesses. The bipartisan and bicameral support for this effort underscores just how important the 7(a) program, and the capital it provides, is to our nation’s small business owners. I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance this legislation.”
Ranking Member Velázquez said, “The House Small Business Committee has a long tradition of working across the aisle to promote opportunity and job growth for America’s small businesses and, central to that effort, is ensuring entrepreneurs can access adequate capital to grow their operations. To that end, I’m proud to cosponsor the Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight Reform Act, a package of bipartisan, commonsense reforms to increase the efficiency and reach of the program. Since its inception, the 7(a) initiative has provided new and existing ventures with financing to grow and create jobs in local communities. Under this legislation, SBA will have more tools to meet small businesses’ needs. I’m particularly pleased the bill includes provisions from my legislation allowing SBA to raise its 7(a) lending cap, so there’s no interruption in the flow of loans to small firms. This is a good bill and I look forward to working with Chairmen Chabot and Risch and Ranking Member Shaheen in seeing it enacted.”
Ranking Member Shaheen said, “SBA’s 7(a) program provides an essential source of capital to help New Hampshire small businesses that don’t qualify for a traditional bank loan – at no cost to taxpayers. This bipartisan bill ensures that small businesses will not be hurt by a sudden shutdown of the program and left without an affordable source of capital to meet payroll, buy inventory, purchase equipment and create jobs in their community. It also takes important steps to improve oversight of the program to prevent fraud and increase efficiency. I look forward to working with my colleagues and SBA to make sure this program works for New Hampshire small businesses.”
The 7(a) loan program is a Small Business Administration program that helps entrepreneurs and small businesses access credit to start and grow their businesses. The Small Business 7(a) Lending Oversight and Reform Act of 2018 preserves this important loan program by:
- Strengthening SBA’s Office of Credit Risk Management by outlining in statute the responsibilities of the office and the requirements of its director;
- Enhancing SBA’s lender oversight review process, including increasing the office’s enforcement options;
- Requiring SBA to detail its oversight budget and perform a full risk analysis of the program on an annual basis; and
- Strengthening SBA’s Credit Elsewhere Test by clarifying the factors that must be considered.
The Small Business Committees have held multiple hearings on the matter and several meetings to ensure the program continues to run effectively and with proper oversight.
2018 Women Build America Conference: Empowered Women…Empower Women
March 4–March 7, 2018 | Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.: WCOE is presenting its annual Women Build America Conference at the historic and lovely Willard Hotel, Washington, D.C. We are privileged to have Linda McMahon, Administrator of the Small Business Administration, as this year’s keynote speaker. This all-inclusive event offers guests an unparalleled opportunity to meet, engage and join forces with business leaders, corporate executives, legislative and policy experts, as well as Congressional and Federal government officials.
The core purpose of WCOE is to promote the role of women-owned businesses in the construction industry, to advance women in executive management positions within the industry, and to monitor and pursue legislation advantageous to women in general and the construction industry in particular.
For more information on registration and sponsorship opportunities, contact Diane Hartfield, National Executive Director, WCOE Headquarters, 202.276.0646.
On January 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service (FS) published an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking and request for comments on its current National Environmental Policy Act procedures. The FS is seeking comments on ways to increase efficiency of environmental analyses. Specifically, the FS is asking for comments on processes and requirements that can be modified, approaches to landscape-scale analysis, classes of actions that are unlikely, and ways to enhance coordination with other federal agencies. Comments are due by February 2, 2018.
On January 5, 2018, the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA) of the Department of Labor (DOL) published a proposed rule that would broaden the criteria under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) for determining when employers may join together an employer group or association that is treated as the "employer" sponsor of a single multiple-employer group health plan.
On December 14, 2017, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) published a Request for Information in the Federal Register, asking for public input regarding the Board’s 2014 Election Rule, which modified the Board’s union representation election procedures.
The Board seeks information from interested parties regarding three questions:
1. Should the 2014 Election Rule be retained without change?
2. Should the 2014 Election Rule be retained with modifications? If so, what should be modified?