Continuing Resolution

The Senate is expected to take up the House-passed CR while House and Senate conferees formally begin to reconcile the differences between the chambers’ National Defense Authorization Acts with the goal of bringing a final product to each floor by the end of the month.

Digital Platform Mergers

Next Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust will hold a hearing to review the impact of recent digital platform mergers. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government will hold a hearing Wednesday on the Federal Trade Commission during which Chairman Joe Simons and Commissioner Rohit Chopra will testify.

Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Work

A House Science, Space, and Technology Committee panel will also hold a hearing next week to examine artificial intelligence (AI) and the future of work. The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will also vote on Eugene Scalia’s nomination to serve as Secretary of Labor next Tuesday at 10:00 AM.

On Sunday, President Trump will participate in an event with Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India in Houston before traveling to Ohio to tour an Australian-owned manufacturing facility with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

The House no longer plans to be in session on Monday as members are expected to attend funeral services for Majority Whip Jim Clyburn’s late wife, Emily Clyburn. It will resume legislative business on Tuesday.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

Continuing Resolution

With government spending authority set to expire on September 30, congressional leaders focused this week on efforts to avert a shutdown. The House voted 301-123 today to pass a continuing resolution (CR) to extend funding through November 21; the CR also includes several other measures, including provisions to extend the Export-Import Bank charter and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through November 21. In the meantime, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced several of its FY20 spending bills this morning, including the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (THUD), Financial Services and General Government, and Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA measures.

Ambassadorial Nominations, National Defense Authorization Act

Elsewhere, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) continued to bring pending executive branch nominations to the floor, including several ambassadorial nominations. The House also passed several consumer protection bills and a motion to go to conference with the Senate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) also swore in new Reps. Greg Murphy (R-NC) and Dan Bishop (R-NC), who recently won special elections to fill vacant seats.

Research Security

On Monday, President Trump participated in credentialing ceremonies for new ambassadors before meeting with Bahrain Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa. White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) Director Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier sent a letter to members of the United States research community, including professional societies and universities and other academic institutions providing an update on the Joint Committee on the Research Environment (JCORE) and the importance of research security. The letter notes that OSTP will convene meetings over the coming months at academic institutions nationwide to facilitate dialogue around research security.

Eugene Scalia, the President’s nominee to serve as the next Secretary of Labor, testified in support of his nomination this morning before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

Federal Updates

State Updates

  • New York is considering legislation to expand privacy protection for students. S 6690 would establish the Student Privacy Protection Act which prescribes when student information may be disclosed and what student information may be disclosed. This measure is designed to enhance safeguards for students by defining student information that may be disclosed, limiting the purpose for disclosure, and providing parents and eligible students the opportunity to further protect themselves.
  • In Illinois, the legislature passed HB 3606 creating the Student Online Personal Protection Act of 2019. The legislation bans schools from commercially selling the meta-data of K-12 students who use school computers, and provides parents with some control over how the data may be used. The bill also establishes a Student Data Protection Oversight Committee. The committee is required to submit an annual report to the General Assembly and State Board of Education with recommendations for policy revisions or legislative amendments if needed to carry out the intent of the Act.
  • California introduced legislation that would revise the calculation for college admissions-related standardized test sponsors to disclose certain test materials. AB 1234 would change the required calculation for the number of test administrations from which a test sponsor must provide certain test materials to 50% of regular test administrations. The legislation would also streamline state reporting requirements for entities who conduct standardized college admission tests in California and provides students with an additional opportunity to take college-admissions tests in July.

Read more on education policy on the .

Hearings/Markups

House Committee on Energy and Commerce: “Improving Maternal Health: Legislation to Advance Prevention Efforts and Access to Care”
The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing on several bills to improve maternal health and welfare. The hearing discussed four maternal health bills: the Mothers and Offspring Mortality and Morbidity Awareness Act, introduced by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL); the Quality Care for Moms and Babies Act, introduced by Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY); the Maternal Care Access and Reducing Emergencies Act, introduced by Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC); and the Healthy MOMMIES Act, introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA). Find witness testimonies and hearing updates here.

Why this is important: Republicans on the subcommittee expressed concern that passing federal legislation to ensure Medicaid coverage for beneficiaries up to one year after giving birth would prevent states from deciding how long the program should cover new mothers.

House Committee on Oversight and Reform: “The Administration’s Apparent Revocation of Medical Deferred Action for Critically Ill Children”
The House Committee on Oversight and Reform held a hearing to investigate the decision by Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) to end consideration of non-military deferred action requests, commonly known as medical deferred action. Find witness testimonies and hearing updates here.

Why this is important: Members heard from those affected by the policy, while Democratic members displayed frustration as representatives from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) refused to comment on the policy during the hearing. Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) asked representatives to answer her questions on who recommended they give no comment at the subcommittee under oath and suggested that if they did not answer the questions, the subcommittee should seek a subpoena.

House

Senate

Read more on healthcare policy on the McGuireWoods Consulting website.

congressContinuing Resolution, Export-Import Bank, National Flood Insurance Program

The House plans to take up a continuing resolution next week to extend government funding at current levels into November. Majority Leader Hoyer (D-MD) also plans to bring bills to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to the floor.

Senate Hearing on Oversight of the Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws

Next Tuesday, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing on “Oversight of the Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws” during which Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons and Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim will testify. The hearing will focus on the agencies’ recent actions related to the technology sector. The Subcommittee will also hold a hearing on September 24 to examine the impact of recent digital platform mergers.

Secretary of Labor Nominee to Testify

Eugene Scalia, the President’s nominee to be the next Secretary of Labor, will testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee next Thursday at 9:00 AM.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

Congress Returned to Washington

Congress returned to Washington this week after its annual summer recess with just a handful of legislative days remaining before the fiscal year ends at the end of the month. While the Senate Appropriations Committee takes up its first FY21 spending measures today, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) has already announced plans to bring a continuing resolution to the House floor next week to avert a government shutdown. Congressional leaders will also look to complete a conference on the FY21 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and bring the final product to the House and Senate floors before September 30.

Executive Branch Nominations

The Senate spent the week processing pending executive branch nominations, including Kelly Craft’s nomination to serve as US Representative to the United Nations General Assembly and Michelle Bowman’s nomination to sit on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, while the House began the week considering bills to block oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Atlantic and Pacific Coasts, and Eastern Gulf of Mexico.

Tech Task Force Roundtable

Today, the tech task force spearheaded by Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) in partnership with Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) held another roundtable, this one focused on data portability. The task force’s sessions have been closed to the public. The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust was scheduled to hold the third in its series of hearings on online platforms and market power this morning with a focus on “The Role of Data and Privacy in Competition,” but the hearing was postponed due to a conflict with a full Committee session. It has not yet been rescheduled.

White House Happenings

President Trump will address the House Republicans in Baltimore tonight as the conference convenes for its annual retreat.

On Monday, the White House hosted a summit on artificial intelligence (AI) focused on government use during which representatives from the Departments of Defense and Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health reported on how their agencies are leveraging AI today and plan to do so in the future. Elsewhere, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said Monday that his Department is meeting this week with companies impacted by the new French digital services tax (DST) after the US and France agreed during the recent G7 summit to spend 90 days seeking “an understanding” on an international agreement (for more, read here).

46th Annual Fordham Competition Law Institute Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy

Earlier today, Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust Makan Delrahim delivered remarks at the 46th Annual Fordham Competition Law Institute Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy. He focused on the interaction between international antitrust authorities and how specific laws, such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation, influence policy and business practices outside of a nation’s jurisdiction. Delrahim noted that decisions that create global effects “[take] away the ability of every other jurisdiction to reach a different conclusion.” To remedy this, he suggested regulators employ concepts of comity to prevent overextension of competition law.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

Congress

Speaker Pelosi to Release Drug Pricing Plan in September, Progressive Caucus Raises Transparency Concerns

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) upcoming drug pricing plan is expected for release in September, according to Rep. Pelosi’s health policy aide, Wendell Primus. The proposal authorizes the government to limit prices for certain expensive drugs and ensure that negotiated prices apply to all payers. On Aug. 28, members of the Progressive Caucus sent a letter to Rep. Pelosi, asking for transparency and inclusion in writing the plan before it is finalized for public presentation. The Progressive Caucus fears the plan falls short, and it supports an alternate bill sponsored by Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) that allows the government to strip patents from drug manufacturers that refuse to negotiate prices in good faith, known as the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act (H.R. 1046). Find the full letter here.

Administration

Former FDA Commissioners and Industry Groups Push for FDA’s Ned Sharpless to Be Permanent Commissioner

On Sept. 3, a group of four former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioners and more than 50 health groups sent two letters to President Trump and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging the administration to give acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless the position permanently. Sharpless faces competition for the permanent role.

IRS Will Collect More Than $15.5B From 2020 Health Insurance Tax

On Sept. 3, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) released a guidance memo stating that the federal government will collect more than $15.52 billion from most health insurers in 2020 if Congress does not extend the existing suspension of the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax. Bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would delay the tax until 2022 has 124 House sponsors and 27 Senate sponsors. Find the full guidance memo here.

Read more on healthcare policy on the McGuireWoods Consulting website.

Return from Recess

Members of the House and Senate will both return to Washington on Monday after spending August in their states and districts.

Third Hearing on Online Platforms and Market Power

Next Thursday, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law will hold the third in its series of hearings on Online Platforms and Market Power, this one focused on “The Role of Data and Privacy in Competition.”

Oversight of the Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws Hearing Scheduled

On September 17, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights will hold a hearing on “Oversight of the Enforcement of the Antitrust Laws” during which Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chairman Joseph Simons and Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim will testify. The hearing will focus on the agencies’ recent actions related to the technology sector. The Subcommittee will also hold a hearing on September 24 to examine the impact of recent digital platform mergers.

Senate Democratic Priorities

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) sent a letter to his Democratic colleagues Thursday outlining his priorities for the remainder of 2019, including legislation to address gun violence, election security, the Affordable Care Act, pension benefits, and Hong Kong human rights. Specifically, Schumer said he will continue to push Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) to bring H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, to the floor. The bill passed the House in February 240-190 with support from eight Republicans.

California Consumer Privacy Act

With the California legislative session ending next Friday, today is the last day that bills can be amended on the floor. At this time, efforts to secure major changes to the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), set to go into effect in January 2020, have stalled.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

Field Hearing | Transforming Rural America: A New Era of Innovation

With Congress set to return to Washington next week, the Senate Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet holds a field hearing today in Sioux Falls, South Dakota on “Transforming Rural America: A New Era of Innovation” with a focus on expanding access to reliable broadband connectivity in rural America.

Sen. Isakson and Reps. Flores, Sensenbrenner and Davis Will Not Seek Reelection

Senator Johnny Isakson (R-GA) announced last Wednesday that he will resign at the end of the year citing health challenges, including his battle with Parkinson’s disease. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) will appoint someone to fill the vacant seat until a November 2020 special election. Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), and Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA), who sits on the House Armed Services and Education and Labor Committees, also announced this week that they will not seek reelection in 2020.

G7 Summit

President Trump recently attended the G7 summit Biarritz, France, where he announced a new trade deal with Japan that includes “early consensus” on a number of key provisions, including digital trade. US and Japanese negotiating teams aim to finalize the first stage of the agreement by the end of next month. He also discussed France’s digital services tax (DST) with French President Macron (see below for additional details). As Hurricane Dorian prepared to make landfall, Trump cancelled plans to travel to Warsaw on September 1 to mark the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. Vice President Pence attended in his place and went on to scheduled trips to Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Iceland.

National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee

Meanwhile, the President formally nominated Eugene Scalia to serve as Secretary of Labor and issued on August 30 an Executive Order on Establishing the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee. The EO coincided with a memo from the White House Offices of Management and Budget (OMB) and Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to all executive departments and agencies outlining the Administration’s research and development budget priorities for FY21. In general, the priorities fall into five categories: security, leadership in industries of the future, energy and environmental leadership, health and bioeconomic innovation, and space exploration and commercialization.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.

House Judiciary to Return Sept. 4 to Markup Bills Aimed at Reducing Gun Violence

Congress remains in recess through the second week of September, but the House Judiciary Committee will return to Washington on September 4 to markup several bills aimed at reducing gun violence. The Committee will also hold a hearing September 25 on military-style assault weapons.

8chan Owner to Appear in Sept. 5 Deposition

According to the House Homeland Security Committee, 8chan owner Jim Watkins has also agreed to appear at a September 5 deposition to discuss whether the site has made any efforts to stop the spread of racist and violent content.

Trump to Join Other G7 Leaders in France

President Trump will join other G7 leaders this weekend in Biarritz, France. He also announced on Tuesday evening that he will not travel to Denmark early next month for bilateral meetings with senior political and business leaders as planned after Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said that she would not be interested in discussing the potential sale of Greenland to the United States. The President and First Lady had also been scheduled to visit Queen Margrethe II during their time in Copenhagen. The trip was to coincide with a visit to Warsaw on September 1 to mark the 80th anniversary of the beginning of World War II. Elsewhere, Vice President Pence is scheduled to travel to Iceland, the United Kingdom, and Ireland next week.

Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Update.