Continuing Resolution

With the current continuing resolution set to expire on November 21, Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) took procedural steps this week to bring packages of FY21 appropriations measures to the floor. The House has passed almost all of its bills, though notably has not acted on its Homeland Security measure. Elsewhere, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee held a hearing yesterday on reauthorizing the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELAR), which expires at the end of the year. Lawmakers have not offered reauthorization legislation in either chamber.

Two Bills Related to Drones Advanced

The House Homeland Security Committee advanced two bills related to drones this week, one that would establish an official within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) tasked with coordinating federal unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) countermeasures policy development and deployment of the technology. The coordinator will also be the primary point of contact for federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement and the private sector, particularly with regard to instances in which counter UAS technology may impact lawful private sector UAS operations. The Senate Homeland Security Committee advanced a companion bill earlier this year. The House committee also approved legislation introduced last week that would prohibit DHS from purchasing or operating foreign-made UAS. A group of bipartisan senators introduced legislation recently that would apply the same prohibition to all federal agencies. The House wrapped its work on Wednesday in honor of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who lies in state today ahead of his funeral tomorrow in Baltimore.

New Executive Order Creates the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology

President Trump said last Friday that he will nominate Deputy Secretary Dan Brouillette to replace Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, who is stepping down. On Tuesday, the White House announced a new executive order creating the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), a new body that will advise the President on matters related to science, technology, education, and innovation policy.

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