American Energy Innovation Act

The House and Senate were both in session this week. The Senate took up S.2657, the American Energy Innovation Act (AEIA), a package of more than 50 energy-related bills reported by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee in 2019. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism held a hearing on Dangerous Partners: Big Tech and Beijing. Yesterday, the Senate passed legislation calling on the administration to develop a 5G security strategy. The House passed a similar measure earlier this year.

Coronavirus Response

The House on Wednesday passed an $8.3 billion emergency coronavirus package with a 415-2 vote. The two nays were from Reps. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Ken Buck (R-CO). Today, the Senate approved the package in a 96-1 vote. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) voted against it.

The President added several Cabinet and other officials to the coronavirus task force this week and attended a meeting on Monday with pharmaceutical executives to discuss the outbreak. The President and Vice President Mike Pence, who is leading the task force, met with airline CEOs on Wednesday to discuss the implications for travel.

Earl Comstock Resigns

Earl Comstock, who served as director of policy and strategic planning at the Commerce Department for three years, resigned Friday. Comstock was at the center of debates concerning how to repurpose airwaves for commercial 5G services and also helped lead the Trump administration’s efforts to impose export restrictions on Huawei Technologies. In addition, he was a key point person on trade, especially with respect to the Commerce Department’s Section 232 investigations into the national security impacts of automotive, steel, and aluminum imports.

50,000 Comments Submitted to FAA’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Remote ID of Drones

The FAA received over 50,000 comments in response to its notice of proposed rulemaking for remote identification of drones ahead of Monday’s deadline. The FAA also closed out a comment period this Wednesday on a Notice of Policy for type certification of drones.

Coronavirus Negatively Impacting Tech Industry

Coronavirus continues to negatively impact the technology industry. Domestically, tech giants like Facebook and Google have canceled their annual conferences, and abroad, international events such as the Mobile World Congress and the World ATM Congress have been called off. Now, the virus may be threatening South by Southwest. The event, which takes place annually in Austin, is scheduled to start on March 13th, but Facebook, Apple, Twitter, and others have pulled out, throwing the event’s fate into question.

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