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.