The House was in recess this week. The Senate resumed legislative business on Tuesday and spent the bulk of the week on pending nominations.

Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-IN), who chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, announced this week that he will retire. The Appropriations Chairwoman, Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY), previously announced that she would not seek reelection.

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

Last Friday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer urging him to remove from any draft trade agreement language incorporating Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. “With members of both the Senate and House of Representatives seriously considering whether to amend or eliminate Section 230’s grant of immunity because big tech is not living up to its end of the legislative bargain, I believe that enshrining it in our trade agreements would be a mistake,” Cruz wrote.

NASA Reauthorization Legislation

Cruz, in his capacity as Senate Aviation and Space Subcommittee Chairman, also introduced NASA reauthorization legislation this week alongside Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Roger Wicker (R-MS), Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Subcommittee Ranking Member Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). The Committee will mark up the bill, along with a slew of others, during an executive session next Wednesday.

Pending Nominations

President Trump announced last Friday that Acting Undersecretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans Chad Wolf would become Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, succeeding Kevin McAleenan. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) plans to hold a vote next week to confirm Wolf to his undersecretary position, to which he was nominated in February, to weaken any legal challenges to Wolf assuming the role of Acting Secretary.

Trump also announced last Friday that he will nominate Dr. Stephen Hahn to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The White House sent Hahn’s nomination to the Senate on Tuesday and in announcing his support for the nomination, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he will hold a confirmation hearing on November 20.

Voice Cloning Technologies

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced this week that it will hold a workshop on January 28, 2020 to examine the status of – and potential consequences of – voice cloning technologies. The FTC also released a new guide this week for social media influencers as it pertains to endorsements and sponsorships that summarizes the agency’s existing guidance, including its Endorsement Guides and a 2017 Q&A document.

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