Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
May 22, 2015

Posts in "Congressional Affairs"

March 26, 2015

What Issue Could be Drawing Republican Praise of the FCC?

It’s not something you hear often. CQ Roll Call’s Shawn Zeller reports that House Republicans on Thursday took a break from blasting the Federal Communications Commission’s net neutrality rules to offer the agency “rare praise” as lawmakers look to additional auctions of spectrum.

From Zeller’s story (subscription), which mentions comments by the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology subcommittee at a Thursday hearing:

Rep. Greg Walden of Oregon, who recently threatened to try to freeze the agency’s budget, applauded agency staff for its management of a recent auction of government-held spectrum to wireless providers that netted more than $40 billion. The spectrum is used to deliver voice and data services.

March 23, 2015

The Week Ahead: Internet of Things, Net Neutrality and More

Members of the Federal Communications Commission are back on the Hill this week, with Chairman Tom Wheeler and commissioner Ajit Pai testifying in budget and net neutrality hearings. Hearings and events on the Internet of Things are also on tap in the week ahead.

Monday

Georgetown University holds a panel discussion on discrimination and big data.

Tuesday

The Brookings Institution hosts a discussion with Craig Silliman, Verizon’s general counsel and executive vice president for public policy, on updating communications law and regulations.

An Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on the Internet of Things.

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds an FCC budget hearing.

A House Science, Space and Technology subcommittee holds a hearing on the James Webb Space Telescope.

A Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee holds a hearing on drones.

Wednesday

A House Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing on abusive patent litigation.

The House Judiciary Committee holds a hearing on the FCC’s net neutrality rules.

Thursday

The FCC holds an open meeting.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on spectrum policy.

Microsoft holds a panel discussion on the Internet of Things.

New America holds an event on mobile health data.

The Telecommunications Industry Association hosts an event on the Internet of Things.

March 19, 2015

Likely Stalemate over Online Sales Tax Legislation

CQ Roll Call’s Alan K. Ota gives the state of play about online sales tax legislation in a story Wednesday, writing that a “push to allow states to enforce sales taxes on remote online vendors faces likely stalemate, with a quiet retreat by Senate supporters and a splintering of House Republicans.”

“That’s a big disappointment to backers of an overhaul of the tax structure for Internet sales; they had hoped the momentum from Senate passage of a bill in the last Congress would carry over into 2015,” he writes.

Read the rest of the story here.

March 17, 2015

The Lobbying Battle Over Patent Legislation

CQ Roll Call’s Shawn Zeller writes in the latest Roll Call Policy Focus that went online Monday:

As lobbying coalitions go, United for Patent Reform looks fierce as it wades into what’s expected to be one of 2015’s highest-profile lobbying duels in Congress.

Formed earlier this year to advocate for legislation that would make it tougher, and riskier to sue companies for infringing on a patent, United for Patent Reform includes a diverse array of firms and trade groups. Some are technology firms that own a lot of patents, such as Google, Facebook and Cisco.

Others are companies that mostly use technology to promote or run their businesses, such as Macy’s, the American Hotel and Lodging Association and the Newspaper Association of America.

He also writes:

But the reason Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte’s bill to rein in the suits stalled in the last Congress and will be difficult to pass again this year is that the opposition to his legislation is also full of high-powered advocates. They range from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, to venture capitalists and tech startups that say patents are the key to American innovation and deserve every possible protection.

Read the rest of the story here as well as a sidebar on the “high-wattage” lobbying firms that different firms and trade groups have hired and their ties to Republicans and Democrats here.

March 16, 2015

The Week Ahead: Hearings on FCC Oversight, Cybersecurity

Members of the Federal Communications Commission testify on the Hill this week. Cybersecurity and data security and breach notification are among the topics of other congressional hearings this week.

Tuesday

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a budget hearing on the National Science Foundation.

A House Armed Services subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Assuring Assured Access to Space.”

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a hearing titled “FCC: Process and Transparency” on the commission’s process for developing its recently adopted net neutrality rules, where FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler is scheduled to testify.

Wednesday

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on a data security and breach notification discussion draft bill.

A House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds an FCC oversight hearing where the FCC’s five commissioners are scheduled to testify.

Thursday

The Free State Foundation holds its telecom policy conference titled “The Future of the Internet: Free Market Innovation or Government Control?”

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds an FCC oversight hearing, where the panel will hear from all five FCC commissioners.

The House Intelligence Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on cybersecurity risk insurance.

March 11, 2015

Graham Not the Only Senator Staying Away From Email

The New York Times has a story Wednesday about lawmakers who either don’t use email or do so only occasionally, mentioning Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, and as you probably know by now, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

From the story:

No single emoji seemed quite adequate to capture the collective flip-out over the admission by Senator Lindsey Graham that he has never, ever sent an email.

“I don’t know what that makes me,” Mr. Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday.

A card-carrying member of the Flip Phone Caucus, perhaps. A first-team all-Luddite, maybe. And, without doubt, one of a small circle of members of Congress who shape 21st-century policy and legislation but do not actually send or receive email.

March 10, 2015

A Look at Gaps in Email Rules for Lawmakers

CQ Roll Call’s Kate Ackley has a story Tuesday on email rules for lawmakers. She writes:

Despite gripes on Capitol Hill that Hillary Rodham Clinton’s email practices may deprive the public of important insight into her tenure at the State Department, Congress has subjected itself to a hodgepodge of electronic data protocols, with much left to the whims of lawmakers.

From Ackley’s story:

But the legislative branch, which has effectively exempted itself from the Freedom of Information Act, can keep its emails and other correspondence hidden for 20 years or more — and some forever.

“The best thing that may come out of this Hillary situation is that the House and Senate have to take a good hard look at their own procedures,” said a former historian of the House, Ray Smock, who is now director of the Robert C. Byrd Center for Legislative Studies at Shepherd University. “This is a big problem, and Congress has only had an occasional, piecemeal approach.”

All emails and paperwork generated in a lawmaker’s personal office remain that member’s private property, according to Smock and other experts. And it is up to them whether they wish to make their records public and, if so, what restrictions they choose to place on them.

Read the rest of the story here.

 

 

March 9, 2015

The Week Ahead: FirstNet, Music Royalties and Data Encryption

The week ahead include hearings and events on issues including FirstNet (which is tasked with building a nationwide wireless broadband network for first responders), music royalties and data encryption.

Tuesday

A Senate Judiciary subcommittee holds a hearing titled “How Much For a Song?: The Antitrust Decrees that Govern the Market for Music.”

Wednesday

Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley speaks at an event titled “Data-driven government: A new approach to governing” hosted by The Brookings Institution.

The Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee holds a hearing on FirstNet.

Thursday

The Advisory Committee to the Congressional Internet Caucus holds a panel event on data encryption.

The Brookings Institution hosts an event on mobile health in Africa.

The Heritage Foundation hosts an event titled “Standard Setting and Patents: Is Government Policy Harming Innovation?”

A Senate Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal.

March 3, 2015

Fun Fact: ‘Supernova Mikulski’

At least a couple stories on Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski’s, D-Md., announcement of her retirement on Monday remind us that a supernova was named in her honor a few years ago.

From Reuters: “In 2012, when NASA researchers in Baltimore discovered the fleeting glimmer of an exploding star, they named it ‘Supernova Mikulski,’ after one of their chief congressional patrons.”

A 2012 story by The Associated Press reported some details about the supernova and more:

Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski is known for her outspoken support of space exploration.

On Thursday, she will have a supernova named after her at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

From a 2012 Heard on the Hill post:

The astronomers found Supernova Mikulski using the Hubble Space Telescope. About 7.4 billion light-years from Earth, it is not visible to the naked eye.

Space researchers have an affinity for Mikulski, which should come as no surprise because she’s the Senate appropriator charged with the NASA budget.

The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore will also be renamed in Mikulski’s honor. Data collected by both the Hubble and Webb telescopes will be held at the institute.

Mikulski is the longest-serving woman in Congress, the first woman to helm the Senate Appropriations Committee and has been the top Democrat on the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee for years.

March 2, 2015

The Week Ahead: American Cable Association Summit and Budget, Cybersecurity Hearings

The American Cable Association holds its summit and congressional committees hold cybersecurity hearings as well as budget hearings on NASA, the Federal Communications Commission and the Commerce Department this week.

Monday

Greg Walden, R-Ore., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology discusses net neutrality at the American Enterprise Institute.

The Center for Strategic & International Studies hosts a panel event on the Internet of Things and the transportation industry.

The German Marshall Fund of the United States hosts an event titled “Internet Freedom 2.1: Lessons from Asia’s Developing Democracies.”

Tuesday

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a Commerce Department budget hearing.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee has a cybersecurity hearing.

Wednesday

The American Cable Association holds its summit, which continues on Thursday.

The Association of American Universities, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, the Innovation Alliance, the Medical Device Manufacturers Association, and the National Venture Capital Association host a patent event.

A House Appropriations subcommittee holds a NASA budget hearing.

A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission: The FCC’s FY 2016 Budget Request.”

A House Homeland Security subcommittee holds a hearing titled “Industry Perspectives on the President’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Proposal.”

New America hosts an event on technology and disability.

Thursday

The House Intelligence Committee holds a cybersecurity hearing.

A Senate Appropriations subcommittee holds a hearing on NASA’s fiscal 2016 budget request.

Friday

USTelecom hosts a cybersecurity event.

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