The U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation will hold an executive session on Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at 11:30 a.m. (time changed from 10:15 a.m.) to consider the following legislative measures and pending nominations.
1. S. 2644, The FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016, Sponsor: Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.)
2. S. 421, Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act of 2015, Sponsors: Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.)
3. S. 2607, Developing Innovation and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act, Sponsors: Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
4. S. 2508, Youth Sports Concussions Act, Sponsors: Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.)
5. S. 2829, Maritime Administration Authorization and Enhancement Act for Fiscal Year 2017, Sponsors: Sens. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
6. S. 2325, Digital Coast Act of 2015, Sponsors: Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Lisa Murkowksi (R-Alaska), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska)
7. S. 2817, Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act, Sponsors: Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
8. Nominations for Promotion in the United States Coast Guard
9. Andrew Read, of North Carolina, to be a Member of the Marine Mammal Commission
Results of the markup are available here.
Executive Session Details:
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
11:30 a.m. in Senate Russell Office Building, Room 253
A live video of the markup and additional information will be available at www.commerce.senate.gov.
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Chairman John Thune
"Good morning. Thanks to everyone for being here today. I’d first like to once again thank Senators Nelson, Ayotte, Cantwell, and the entire Committee for the work we did on the FAA Reauthorization Act. With 95 “yes” votes on the floor, this bipartisan measure is truly a product we can be proud of. I look forward to working with the House of Representatives now to ensure we can get a reauthorization to the President as soon as possible.
"Today we are going to consider a number of other measures, which for the most part, are similar to the FAA Reauthorization Act in that they are consensus bipartisan measures intended not only to pass this Committee, but to pass the full Senate and hopefully become law.
"First and foremost is the FCC Reauthorization Act of 2016.
"During our oversight hearing in March of last year, I expressed my amazement that an agency as important as the FCC had not been reauthorized by Congress in 25 years—making it the oldest expired authorization within the Commerce Committee’s expansive jurisdiction. It has been a priority of mine throughout this Congress to restart the FCC’s authorization cycle, and I am glad that today this Committee is finally considering a long-overdue, noncontroversial measure to formally reauthorize the FCC.
"It has been important to me that this reauthorization package be both bipartisan and noncontroversial, and I think we have achieved that. It is my hope that we can report this bill with the full support of the Committee and move it through the Senate floor by unanimous consent in quick fashion.
"Another communications-related bill on today’s agenda is the FCC Process Reform Act of 2015, introduced by Senator Heller and co-sponsored by Senator Daines.
"While it does not appear we have achieved consensus support for the FCC Process Reform Act, yet, I believe it is important that we go on record as a Committee today and continue to work together to improve the Federal Communications Commission, which we all agree is too important an agency not to make as efficient and credible as possible.
"Senators Fischer, Ayotte, Booker, and Schatz worked together to introduce the final communication-related bill on today’s agenda, the DIGIT Act.
"I would like to thank them for working with me and my staff on this legislation to address a few issues in the lead-up to today’s markup. Their bill would establish a federal working group to examine policy ideas and needs dealing with the burgeoning Internet of Things.
"I would also like to thank Senator Udall for agreeing to work with me on his Youth Sports Concussion Act.
"I think I speak for everyone on this Committee when I say that we share Senator Udall’s concern about the possible long-term impact of concussions, especially on younger athletes, as well as the desire to hold those who make deceptive claims accountable, even when we do not always agree on the best solutions. I know our staffs have been working together to try to come up with a consensus product that maintains our shared objectives, but addresses the concerns outlined in my amendment, Thune 1.
"Specifically, my amendment seeks to address stakeholder concerns that the current bill is too broad, could hinder future innovation, and unfairly implicates retailers. In fact, I would like to submit for the record a letter from the National Retail Federation that highlights these concerns.
"While we have not yet been able to reach agreement at this time, I am comfortable moving forward with this bill today, and not offering my amendment, with an understanding that we will continue working on these issues before we move to the floor.
"For the second year in a row, Senators Fischer and Booker have introduced MARAD Reauthorization legislation, which we expect will be added to the National Defense Authorization Act. The bill strengthens sexual assault prevention and response at the U.S. Merchant Maritime Academy, provides MARAD with additional tools to more efficiently manage maritime resources, and addresses critical recommendations from the Department of Transportation Inspector General.
"I also appreciate the work of Senator Sullivan on the Digital Coast Act of 2015.
"This bill will codify NOAA’s constituent-driven program that provides a digital information platform capable of efficiently integrating coastal data with decision support tools for coastal managers. I am happy to offer an amendment to this bill that will require NOAA to establish and maintain a best practices document. I hope sharing best practices encourages the United States Geologic Survey to develop an easy-to-use tool for visualizing flood plains in states like South Dakota, a concern I have heard about from my constituents.
"The final legislative item for today is Senators Peters, Gardner, and Booker’s Space Weather Research and Forecasting Act. Space weather is often an under-appreciated phenomenon and their bill would make improvements to the understanding and forecasting of space weather events, so we are better prepared to minimize disruptions.
"On the nominations front, we are considering 13 Coast Guard promotions and one civilian nomination today.
"The civilian nomination we are considering today is that of Dr. Andrew Read, of North Carolina, to be a member of the Marine Mammal Commission. This post at the Marine Mammal Commission is a part-time position, and Dr. Read is not expected to serve more than 60 days in a calendar year. We anticipate all of these nominations will move forward by voice vote, though I appreciate that some Members may wish to be recorded as “no” on Dr. Read’s nomination, which is their prerogative.
"With that, I will turn to Senator Nelson for any opening remarks he would like to make."