This Week in DC: Buying Unsafe Counterfeits, 5G Security, Blockchain Tech for Small Business and Online Sales Taxes
This week in our nation’s capital, the House of Representatives hosts a number of committee hearings related to technology and innovation. Various hearings will explore online sales tax impacts on small businesses, unsafe counterfeit products bought by American consumers, uses of blockchain technology among small businesses, issues with veteran electronic health record systems, U.S. Cyber Command’s 2021 budget and the role of advanced nuclear reactors in creating a cleaner economy. Over in the Senate, a pair of hearings on Wednesday will discuss issues with securing the 5G supply chain and data surveillance concerns caused by partnerships between major tech firms and China. Elsewhere in D.C., the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and the Aspen Institute host a joint event focused on reducing sources of carbon from industrial processes.
Tuesday, March 3
House Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Tax, and Capital Access
At 10:00 AM on Tuesday in 2360 Rayburn House Office Building.
In 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court decided South Dakota v. Wayfair, overturning a previous case which held that state sales tax can only be collected from businesses having brick and mortar locations within that state. This hearing will focus on state taxing activities since the Wayfair decision and the impact that such activities have had on small businesses. The witness panel for this hearing will include Jamie Yesnowitz, Principal, Grant Thornton, LLP, testifying on behalf of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Linda Lester, Vice President, K-Log, Inc.; Kevin Mahoney, President and Founder, FindTape.com; and Brad Scott, Financial Director, Halstead Bead, Inc.
House Subcommittee on Energy
At 10:30 AM on Tuesday in 2322 Rayburn.
Advanced nuclear reactors have greater flexibility enabling better operation in underserved and underground locations. Some designs have incorporated systems for fuel recycling as well as waste reduction. The rise of renewable energy sources has created a new role for advanced nuclear reactors, which can help meet energy demands when energy from renewable sources fluctuates. The witness panel for this hearing includes Maria Korsnick, President and CEO, Nuclear Energy Institute; Armond Cohen, Executive Director, Clean Air Task Force; Joseph Hezir, Principal, Energy Futures Initiative; the Honorable Jeffrey Merrifield, Chairman, Advanced Reactor Task Force, U.S. Nuclear Industry Council; John Hopkins, Chairman and CEO, NuScale Power, LLC; and Chris Levesque, President and CEO, TerraPower, LLC.
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation
The Aspen Institute
At 12:00 PM on Tuesday at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, 700 K St. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20001.
Industrial processes for creating various building materials and chemicals contribute about 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, an amount greater than those contributed from transportation sources such as cars and airplanes. This event, jointly hosted by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) and the Aspen Institute, will feature the release of the Industrial Heat Decarbonization Roadmap from the Innovation for a Cool Earth Forum. Speakers at this event will include Greg Gershuny, Executive Director, Energy and Environment Program, The Aspen Institute; Colin Cunliff, Senior Policy Analyst, ITIF; Erin Burns, Director of Policy, Carbon 180; Julio Friedman, Senior Research Scholar, Columbia University, Center for Global Energy Policy; David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy, Senior Research Scholar, Co-Director, Energy and Environment Concentration, Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs; and Jessie Stolark, Public Policy and Member Relations Manager, Great Plains Institute, Carbon Capture Coalition.
Wednesday, March 4
House Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Commerce
At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 2123 Rayburn.
Many large e-commerce platforms available to American consumers support third-party seller platforms which are increasingly the source of counterfeit products being sold to consumers. In 2019, more than one-quarter of American consumers inadvertently purchased a counterfeit good, many of which were purchased through such e-commerce platforms. The witness panel for this hearing will include Dharmesh Mehta, Vice President of Worldwide Customer Trust and Partner Support, Amazon; Amber Leavitt, General Counsel and Head of IP, eBay; Jeff Myers, Senior Director for Intellectual Property, Apple; Andrew Love, Head of Brand Security/Investigations/Global Enforcement, Specialized Bicycles; David Friedman, Vice President, Advocacy, Consumer Reports; and Lori Wallach, Director, Global Trade Watch, Public Citizen.
Senate Committee on Science, Commerce, and Transportation
At 10:00 AM on Wednesday in 253 Russell Senate Office Building.
While the advent of 5G mobile networks is very promising for American consumers, federal lawmakers have been concerned about the risks posed by network infrastructure providers from rival nations who may be inserting malicious equipment into American networks. These concerns have increasingly focused on Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE, companies with which American business have been prevented from doing business by the federal government. The witness panel for this hearing will include Steven Berry, President and CEO, Competitive Carriers Association; Rick Corker, President of Customer Operations for the Americas, Nokia; Jason Boswell, Head of Security, Network Product Solutions, North America, Ericsson; and Dr. James Lewis, Senior Vice President and Director of the Technology Policy Program, Center for Strategic and International Studies.
House Committee on Small Business
At 11:30 AM on Wednesday in 2360 Rayburn.
While blockchain technologies are closely associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, such decentralized ledgers have various applications in any field where multiple parties want to engage in a secure transaction without the use of an intermediary. For small businesses, this could impact everything from their global supply chain to consumer transactions conducted through peer-to-peer devices. The witness panel for this hearing will include Shane McRann Bigelow, CEO, Ownum, LLC, testifying on behalf of the Chamber of Digital Commerce; Dawn Dickson, CEO, PopCom; Marvin Ammori, General Counsel, Protocol Labs, testifying on behalf of the Blockchain Association; and Jim Harper, Visiting Fellow, American Enterprise Institute.
House Subcommittee on Government Operations
At 2:00 PM on Wednesday in 2247 Rayburn.
A joint report released in early February from the Partnership for Public Service and Ernst & Young LLP indicated that federal government agencies need to employ better IT management practices in order to improve collaboration with other agencies as well as accomplish agency goals. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.
House Subcommittee on Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities
At 2:30 PM on Wednesday in 2212 Rayburn.
The U.S. Department of Defense’s budget request related to cybersecurity operations for the 2021 fiscal year remained relatively flat over the previous year’s request. The 2021 budget recommends $9.8 billion in cybersecurity spending at the DoD, including $2.2 billion to support U.S. Cyber Command, a team of 133 cybersecurity professionals charged with maintaining offensive and defensive operations in the cyber space. The witness panel for this hearing will include Kenneth Rapuano, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Security and Global Security, Principal Security Advisor to the Secretary of Defense, Department of Defense; and General Paul Nakasone, U.S. Army, Commander, U.S. Cyber Command, and Director, National Security Agency.
Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism
At 2:30 PM on Wednesday in 226 Dirksen Senate Office Building.
Increasingly close ties between the Chinese government and major tech businesses and platforms have raised fears that Chinese surveillance programs have been able to target private data from American consumers. This is the latest hearing on the subject of dangerous ties between major tech companies and China called by Senate Crime Subcommittee Chairman Josh Hawley (R-MO), who has excoriated Apple and TikTok in the past for failing to appear at a previous hearing on the subject.
Thursday, March 5
House Subcommittee on Technology Modernization
At 9:00 AM on Thursday in 210 House Visitors Center.
Although the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been planning to rollout its new electronic health record (EHR) system to improve veteran healthcare services, a March 2020 start date has recently been delayed due to issues in configuring EHR systems and integrating them with existing platforms. This hearing will focus on issues causing the VA’s delay and ways that those problems can be addressed. The witness panel for this hearing has yet to be announced.