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Travelers Advised of Ongoing Construction at San Luis I Land Port of Entry

GSA news releases - Mon, 11/06/2017 - 11:12am
GSA is preparing to construct a new pedestrian facility at the San Luis I Land Port of Entry and would like to announce the following minor changes to vehicle and pedestrian routes exiting the port.

Commerce Leaders, Sponsors of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act Announce Agreement

U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-S.D.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, along with Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and other core sponsors of the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (S. 1693) today announced an agreement on several technical and clarifying changes to the bill.

GSA and Congressman O’Rourke host dedication ceremony for federal courthouse in El Paso, Texas

GSA news releases - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:12pm
Press Release to announce naming of El Paso's historic federal courthouse to the RE Thomason Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse

House Small Business Committee Introduces Bipartisan Small Business Saturday Resolution

House Small Business Committee News - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) introduced a bipartisan House resolution to recognize November 25, 2017, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, as “Small Business Saturday.”

The text of H. Res. 603 highlights the important role small businesses play in our nation’s economy, stating that the over 29 million small businesses in the United States:

  • Represent 99.9 percent of all businesses with employees
  • Employ nearly 48 percent of private sector employees
  • Pay 41 percent of total private sector payroll
  • Constitute 98 percent of firms exporting goods
  • Created 1.4 million net new jobs

Our nation is built on hard work, determination, and old-fashioned American ingenuity,” said Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). As Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, I hear daily of the stories of America’s 29 million small businesses that stretch from West Hollywood to Westwood—my hometown. I thank Ranking Member Velázquez for her support for this bipartisan resolution, and encourage all Americans to ‘shop small’ on November 25.

Local Main Street businesses represent the heart of American entrepreneurship and promise,” said Small Business Committee Ranking Member Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “I am pleased to work with Chairman Chabot in introducing a resolution to recognize Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday is a chance for Americans to invest in their communities, enjoy the company of neighbors and shop locally.”

The full Committee co-sponsored this resolution. 

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Court Order Imposing $9 Million Sanction Paints Sordid Tale of Ethically-Challenged Lawyering

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 2:38pm
The lure of easy money, as the late Glen Frey once sang, has a very strong appeal. It routinely inspires less-than-ethical behavior from those who pursue it. Lawyers are certainly no exception, as a recent investigation and resulting federal court sanctions order reflects. The October 18, 2017 opinion, weighing in at 148 pages, is a …

Continue reading Court Order Imposing $9 Million Sanction Paints Sordid Tale of Ethically-Challenged Lawyering

Categories: Latest News

NELSON, KLOBUCHAR INTRODUCE BILL TO ACCELERATE DEPLOYMENT OF NEXT GENERATION 9-1-1 SYSTEMS

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Bill Nelson (D-FL) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced legislation today to accelerate federal efforts to modernize the nation’s aging 9-1-1 systems. 

Specifically, the bill calls for an expansion of an existing federal grant program designed to help state and local governments deploy next generation 9-1-1 systems.  The senators say upgrades are urgently needed to help move the country’s largely analog 9-1-1 call centers and related technology into the digital age and enabling them to handle text messages, pictures, videos, and other information sent by smartphones, tablets, and other devices. 

“Upgrading the nation’s 9-1-1 system is literally a life and death matter that must become more of a national priority,” said Nelson. “In this digital world, Americans must have more than one way to access the 9-1-1 assistance they need and expect when emergencies occur.  No plea for help should go unanswered because a call center doesn’t have the technology to receive a text, video or picture.”

“As a former prosecutor and co-chair of the NextGen 9-1-1 Caucus in the Senate, I know how important it is for our first responders, law enforcement officers, and public safety leaders to be able to communicate seamlessly during times of crisis,” said Klobuchar. “Our legislation would provide state and local governments with the resources they need to efficiently transition to NG 9-1-1 and strengthen our country’s emergency response networks.”

While the legislation doesn’t put a specific price tag on implementing next generation 9-1-1 systems nationwide, the senators said they hope to receive soon a congressionally mandated analysis from the 9-1-1 Implementation Coordination Office to help better determine the cost.  A 2009 U.S. Department of Transportation study estimated it could range between $9.2 billion and $13.2 billion. 

In addition to increasing federal support for next generation 9-1-1 deployment, the legislation also would require studies on how to insulate such system from cyberattacks and to make them more resilient in natural disasters and other catastrophes.  According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), 29 of Florida’s 9-1-1 call centers suffered from impaired service in the days following Hurricane Irma.  In fact, the FCC reported that at one point on September 11, 14 call centers were completely offline.  

 

70 Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Businesses Receive GSA’s Governmentwide Acquisition Contract

GSA news releases - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:12pm
October 26, 2017 WASHINGTON, D.C - The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded its Veterans Technology Services 2 (VETS 2) Governmentwide Acquisition Contract (GWAC) to 70 highly qualified Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB).

Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Commits to Use of GSA’s OASIS Contract for Complex Professional Services

GSA news releases - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:12pm
October 5, 2017 WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The General Services Administration (GSA) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) securing CMS’s use of GSA’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) and OASIS Small Business (SB) contracts for procurement of complex professional services. A signing ceremony was held at HHS offices in Baltimore, Maryland.

Operating or Rulemaking? A Review of SBA’s Opaque Standard Operating Procedures Process

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 10:00am


The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations will meet for a hearing titled, “Operating or Rulemaking? A Review of SBA’s Opaque Standard Operating Procedures Process.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Thursday, November 2, 2017 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building

The Subcommittee will examine the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) standard operating procedures process.


Attachments
1. Hearing Notice
2. Witness List

Witness
Mr. Joseph Loddo
Chief Operating Officer
United States Small Business Administration
Washington, DC 

Operating or Rulemaking? Reviewing SBA’s Opaque Standard Operating Procedure Process

House Small Business Committee News - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Investigations, Oversight, and Regulations questioned Joseph Loddo, the Chief Operating Officer at the United States Small Business Administration (SBA), about SBA’s lack of transparency regarding its standard operating procedures (SOPs) process. 

SOPs instruct SBA employees how to do their job.  They help program participants understand their responsibilities. They clarify laws and regulations,” said Subcommittee Chairman Trent Kelly (R-MS). ”This Committee has been concerned for some time that the agency’s SOPs are doing more than just that.

Rep. Kelly continued, “Specifically, we are concerned that SBA is making legislative binding rules outside of the rulemaking process. They are not required to solicit public input.

Bureaucrats Writing Law

The Administrative Procedure Act (APA) establishes the requirements agencies must meet when creating rules and regulations. It ensures that agencies must provide notice to the public and allow time for comment. However, agencies including the SBA, are not required to go through these steps when creating their SOPs. 

The Small Business Committee has requested a briefing on the SOP process for several months. SBA has still not provided it.

I think that y’all can do a whole lot better job of making sure that when we send requests whether it’s from staff or the actual Member that you comply with that,” said Subcommittee Chairman Trent Kelly (R-MS). I know that from the military and certainly with soldiers, when you’re hiding something—even if it’s not bad, I’m going to think it’s bad. It’s the same way with any other organization.

The Small Business Committee works hard to ease the burden of regulations on small businesses, across industries and across our country.  The Committee wants to ensure that the SBA—and other agencies—are not rulemaking through their standard operating procedures.

Click here to watch the full video, and here to read the full testimony.

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Mercury; Reporting Requirements for the TSCA Mercury Inventory

Office of Advocacy - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 3:59pm

On October 26 2017, EPA published a proposed rule to require reporting from persons who manufacture (including import) mercury or mercury-added products, or otherwise intentionally use mercury in a manufacturing process.  The reporting rule is required by the amended Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) to help assist EPA in publishing an inventory of mercury  supply, use, and trade in the United States before April 1, 2017 and every three years thereafter.

Categories: Latest News, SBA Advocate

Commerce Announces Markup on November 8

Agenda Includes the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (S. 1693) and Nominee to Lead NASA...

Committee Announces Hearing To Examine Data Breaches

Hearing will feature testimony from current and former leaders of Equifax and Yahoo!...

Committee Announces Hearing to Examine Benefits of the Internet of Things

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), chairman of the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet, will convene a hearing titled “Advancing the Internet of Things in Rural America,” at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 7, 2017. The hearing will examine the use and benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) in rural communities, and the infrastructure needs necessary to advance the IoT market to ensure rural America has access to products and devices that are driving the digital economy.

Witnesses: 

  - Mr. Michael Adcock, Executive Director, Telehealth Center University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, Miss.
  - Mr. David Armitage, Founder and CEO of Cartasite, Denver, Colo.
  - Mr. Timothy Hassinger, President and CEO, Lindsay Corporation, Omaha, Neb.
  - Mr. Michael Terzich, Chief Administrative Officer, Zebra Technologies, Lincolnshire, Ill.

Hearing Details: 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017
10:00 a.m.
Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet

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.

GSA Issues Request for Information for Entity Identification and Validation Services

GSA news releases - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:12pm
October 25, 2017 The U.S. General Services Administration has released a Request for Information (RFI) on the Draft Performance Work Statement (PWS) for governmentwide entity identification and validation services. GSA is seeking stakeholder feedback on the draft PWS, which will define the final requirements in a future solicitation to fill the government’s need for validation of information, assignment, and maintenance of a unique numbering system to identify specific commercial, nonprofit, or government entities.

GSA Awards Contract for Greenville, S.C. Courthouse

GSA news releases - Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:12pm
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) awarded the Construction Manager as Constructor (CMc) contract for the new U. S. Courthouse in Greenville, S.C. to the general contractors Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC (Brasfield & Gorrie) on September 25, 2017.

<p>Good morning. &nbsp;Thank you

Good morning.  Thank you Congressman Bridenstine, Ms. Baiocco, Dr. Jacobs, and Ms. Nikakhtar for being here and for your willingness to serve in the important positions to which you have been nominated. 

We have four well-qualified nominees before our Committee today.

Congressman James Bridenstine has been nominated to serve as the next NASA Administrator.  He was elected in 2012 to represent Oklahoma’s First Congressional District and currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the Science, Space and Technology Committee.  Congressman Bridenstine also has a distinguished military career, beginning in the Navy flying the E-2C Hawkeye off the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, from which he flew combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While on active duty, he transitioned to the F-18 Hornet and flew as an “aggressor” at the Naval Strike and Air Warfare Center.  After leaving active duty, Congressman Bridenstine flew counter-drug missions in Central and South America in the Navy Reserve and currently is a member of the 137th Special Operations Wing of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. 

During his tenure in Congress, Representative Bridenstine has established a reputation as a leader on space policy.  In fact, one of his most well-known supporters is former astronaut and the second human to step foot on the moon, Colonel Buzz Aldrin.  Another supporter, John Hamre, former Deputy Secretary of Defense under President Clinton and current President and CEO of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said of him:  “I have worked with members of Congress for 40 years. Only very rarely have I seen a member of Congress with such intensity and sophistication on an urgent national priority.”

I know that many on this Committee, particularly the Ranking Member, are passionate about the space program and the inspiring work of NASA.  Congressman Bridenstine, we look forward to hearing more about your vision for the agency.  

We are also joined today by Dana Baiocco who has been nominated to serve as a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).  Born and raised in Yorkville, Ohio, Ms. Baiocco joined the law firm of Jones Day in 1998 and became a partner in 2007.  She was one of the founding partners of Jones Day’s Boston office, which opened in 2011.  Ms. Baiocco has dedicated her legal career to product safety and liability issues that will serve her well at the CPSC.

Currently, the CPSC is led by a chairman who does not have a functioning majority.  Earlier this month we reported favorably Ann Marie Buerkle to be Chairman and to an additional term on the Commission.  It is my hope that the Senate will prioritize the Buerkle and Baiocco nominations soon, so we can move swiftly towards establishing a chairman with a functioning majority at the CPSC.

Neil Jacobs has been nominated to serve as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Environmental Observation and Prediction.  If confirmed, he will serve as one of the Deputy Administrators of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).  Dr. Jacobs is currently the Chief Atmospheric Scientist at Panasonic Avionics Corporation, where he directs the research and development of the aviation weather observing program, as well as the company’s numerical forecast models.  He is the Chair of the American Meteorological Society’s Forecast Improvement Group, and also serves on the World Meteorological Organization’s aircraft-based observing systems expert team.  Prior to joining Panasonic in 2005, Dr. Jacobs worked on various analyses and modeling projects including NASA’s Earth Systems Science Program, NOAA’s satellite program, and the Department of Energy’s Ocean Margins Program.  Dr. Jacobs’ experience makes him well-tailored to serve in a leadership role at NOAA.

Nazakhtar Nikakhtar has been nominated to serve as Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Analysis.  Ms. Nikakhtar is currently a partner at Cassidy Levy Kent, a leading international trade law firm.  For over a decade, Ms. Nikakhtar has successfully represented U.S. businesses – particularly those in the industrial, agricultural, chemical, and steel sectors – in international trade law matters, including trade remedy matters, customs matters, and World Trade Organization dispute settlement.  Prior to private practice, she served at the Department of Commerce advising on legal and regulatory matters related to the enforcement of U.S. trade laws and bilateral trade negotiations, where she received several awards for her work.  Her technical expertise makes Ms. Nikakhtar a well-qualified candidate to run the Industry and Analysis unit at the International Trade Adminisration.

As I’ve noted, all four of these nominees are well-qualified for the positions to which they have been nominated and I look forward to their swift confirmation.  Once again, I would like to thank you all for testifying today and for your willingness to fill these critical posts.

I will now turn to Ranking Member Nelson for any opening remarks.

Nomination Hearing

U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a nominations hearing at 10:00 a.m. on November, 2017, to consider four nominations subject to Senate confirmation.

Witnesses:

  - The Honorable James Bridenstine, of Oklahoma, to be Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  - Ms. Dana Baiocco, of Ohio, to be a Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission
  - Dr. Neil Jacobs, of North Carolina, to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Environmental Observation and Prediction
  - Ms. Nazakhtar Nikakhtar of Maryland to be an Assistant Secretary of Commerce, Industry and Analysis

Hearing Details:

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
10:00 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

 Mr. Chairman, I’d like to extend a welcome to our nominees this morning.  In the interest of time, my opening will focus on our NASA nominee. I’ll include a statement in the record on our other witnesses.

It is certainly no secret how passionate I am about NASA having qualified and effective leadership. This passion comes from a deep respect I have for NASA and for everything the space program does to advance our national security, our economy, our understanding of cosmos and of ourselves, and for the hope and inspiration that NASA provides to all.  It also comes from having witnessed, very directly, the tragic consequences when NASA leadership has failed us.

We have three new human spaceflight vehicles that are all at the most critical phase of their development. We have over 70 ambitious science missions in operation and 50 more under development. Now, more than ever, NASA needs – and deserves – an administrator who is up to the challenge of leading the agency through this critical juncture. Because at this juncture, success will mean our triumphant return to deep space and rapidly expanding economic activity in Earth orbit.  Failure, on the other hand, could jeopardize the lives of brave astronauts and set back the search for life beyond Earth for decades.  Failure is not an option. 

The NASA administrator should be a consummate space professional who is technically and scientifically competent and a skilled executive.  More importantly, the administrator must be a leader who has the ability to unite scientists, engineers, commercial space interests, policymakers and the public on a shared vision for future space exploration.

Frankly, Congressman Bridenstine, I cannot see how you meet these criteria.

While your time as a pilot and your service to our country in the military is certainly commendable, it does not qualify you make the complex and nuanced engineering, safety and budgetary decisions for which the head of NASA must be accountable. Moreover, your past statements on climate change are troubling from a scientific perspective and have sparked great concern from climate experts around the nation, which brings me to my greatest concern regarding your nomination.

Your recent public service career does not instill great confidence about your leadership skills or ability to bring people together.  In fact, your record and behavior in Congress is as divisive and extreme as any in Washington.  

You have advocated for discriminatory policies toward the LGBT community, which runs contrary to the civil rights of these Americans and poisons our national discourse.

On the House floor, you called President Obama dishonest, incompetent and vengeful – and followed it up by calling Vice President Biden “equally unfit and even more embarrassing.”

But your divisive behavior and remarks don’t stop there and haven’t been reserved just for Democrats.

You attacked Speaker John Boehner for reaching across the aisle. You later tweeted your opposition to Paul Ryan because he was critical of the vile remarks candidate Donald Trump made about sexually assaulting women.   

You made television commercials attacking my friend and fellow Senator from Florida, Marco Rubio, deriding his work to find common ground on immigration and claiming he was working to make America less safe.

Later in Arizona, the GOP challenger to Senator McCain accused him of being directly responsible for the rise of ISIS. You then endorsed her in her Republican primary challenge to Senator McCain.  Most of us believe John McCain is an American hero. As a bipartisan member of the Armed Services Committee, I can tell you that those who would do our country harm have no greater enemy than Chairman McCain. 

And you’ve supported the Senate Conservatives Fund, a political action committee that opposed Senator McConnell in his primary and any number of other Republican senators who did not meet the committee’s extremist ideals.  

Mr. Bridenstine, you’ve gone to great lengths to try to convince folks that you want to keep NASA bipartisan and work across party lines, but that is not what you said in January 2014 at a convention in South Carolina.  

These are your words not mine: 

“You’ve got collusion between Republicans and Democrats in Washington, DC.  They’re coming together and they’re making deals…You’ve got Republicans and Democrats trying to come together...But what we need is fighters. We need people who will stand up and say ‘no, we’re not going to do this anymore…”

Congressman Bridenstine, on behalf of every member who has devoted their career to reaching across the aisle to build consensus and to find working solutions for the American people, I take offense to that. That line of thinking is why Washington is broken. 

NASA represents the best of what we can do as a people.  NASA is one of the last refuges from partisan politics. NASA needs a leader who will unite us, not divide us. Respectfully, Congressman Bridenstine, I don’t think you’re that leader.

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