Weapon Sales to Saudi Arabia
The House is in recess, set to return to Washington the second week of September. The Senate was in session this week and voted unsuccessfully on Monday to override the President’s vetoes of three congressional resolutions blocking emergency weapon sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Bipartisan Budget Act
Today, the Senate voted 67-28 to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act, sending it to the President for his signature. The President has indicated he intends to sign the two-year budget deal, which also suspends the debt limit until July 31, 2021. The Senate also confirmed David Norquist to be Deputy Secretary of Defense, Kelly Craft to be Ambassador to the United Nations, and a slew of district court nominees this week before wrapping its work and joining the House in recess.
Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced the Social Media Addiction Reduction Technology (SMART) Act this week, which aims to ban certain features from social media, including infinite scroll, autoplay, and other additive features that “exploit the science of addiction to make it difficult to leave a social media platform.”
Several Lawmakers Not Seeking Reelection in 2020
A number of lawmakers have announced in recent days that they do not plan to seek reelection in 2020, including House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Michael Conway (R-TX) and Reps. Paul Mitchell (R-MI), Pete Olson (R-TX), and Martha Roby (R-AL). House Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member Rob Bishop (R-UT) also confirmed that he will retire.
President Trump announced on Sunday his intention to nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to succeed former Senator Dan Coats as Director of National Intelligence. On Monday, the President signed the 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund reauthorization into law during a White House ceremony with first responders and on Tuesday he traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia to mark the 400th anniversary of the First Representative Legislative Assembly. President Khaltmaagiin Battulga of Mongolia visited the White House on Wednesday for a bilateral meeting.
US-China Trade Negotiations
Elsewhere, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer spent the week in Shanghai for bilateral US-China trade negotiations. The President also announced on Wednesday that he will nominate Jovita Carranza to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration.
Connected Care Pilot Program
On Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) published a Federal Register notice announcing the comment period for its proposal to create a pilot program within the Universal Service Fund (USF) to support connected care for low-income Americans and veterans. Comments are due by August 29 and reply comments are due by September 30. For more on the Connected Care pilot program, click here.
Read more in McGuireWoods Consulting’s Emerging Technologies Washington Update.