U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene an executive session on Wednesday, December 11, 2019 at 10:00 a.m. in Dirksen Senate Office Building G50 to consider the following legislative measures.
- S. 2204, Data Analytics Robocall Technology Act, Sponsors: Sens. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.
- S. 2381, Traveling Parents Screening Consistency Act of 2019, Sponsors: Sens. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.
- S. 2638, Friendly Airports for Mothers Act, Sponsors: Sens. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., Deb Fischer, R-Neb.
- S. 2661, National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, Sponsors: Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Tammy Baldwin, D-Ill., Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
- S. 2730, Drone Advisory Committee for the 21st Century Act, Sponsors: Sens. Gary Peters, D-Mich., John Thune, R-S.D.
- S. 2786, Arctic Shipping Federal Advisory Committee Act, Sponsors: Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Dan Sullivan, R- Alaska, Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
- S. 2898, Continuity for Operators with Necessary Training Required for ATC Contract Towers Act of 2019 (CONTRACT Act), Sponsors: Sens. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Jerry Moran, R-Kan.
- S. 2802, Marine Mammal Research and Response Act, Sponsor: Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
- S. 2881, 5G Spectrum Act, Sponsors: Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., John Thune, R-S.D.
- S. 2909, NASA Enhanced Use Leasing Act, Sponsors: Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
- S.2964, Aviation War Risk Insurance Extension Act, Sponsors: Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash.
- S.2979, Preventing Opioid and Drug Impairment in Transportation Act, Sponsor: Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
- S. 2981, NOAA Corps Reauthorization, Sponsors: Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii
December 11, 2019
Dirksen Senate Office Building G50
*Note: Agenda updated 12/10/19
Results of the markup can be found here.
Chairman Roger Wicker
This is the tenth executive session of this 116th Congress.
We have had a good year, reporting over 60 bills out of committee — and it is my hope that we will add another 13 to that count today.
We will consider the 5G Spectrum Act of 2019. I would like to thank Senator Thune for working with me over a year to come up with the best way to expand access to 5G, especially in rural areas, and secure value for all Americans. This legislation would get crucial mid-band spectrum into the market to benefit the American people and secure our position as the leader in the race to 5G. The choice we make today is whether Congress will play a role in deciding how these very considerable option revenues are spent. The alternative is to forego any input and let the FCC proceed in its own fashion. I think Congress should be heard and I think every member of this committee agrees with that. Our bill would ensure that at least—at least—50 percent of gross auction revenues be reserved for the American people, and would allow the FCC to carefully tailor limited incentives to ensure that the value of the spectrum is maximized for the taxpayer and the economy. As auction revenues rise, so does the percentage reserved for the American people, so there is no windfall.
I want to thank Senator Gardner for his work on the rural dividend to ensure all Americans – no matter where they live – have access to advanced communications technology. I also want to thank Senators Johnson, Fischer, and Moran for cosponsoring this important legislation.
Additionally, the Preventing Opioid and Drug Impairment in Transportation Act would require the Department of Transportation to make improvements in drug testing for employees in safety-sensitive transportation positions, such as Amtrak locomotive engineers and conductors, pipeline operators, and truck drivers. The legislation would also initiate important research to combat impaired driving on our nation’s roads.
We will also take up other important legislation today.
For example, Senators Cantwell, Feinstein, Hyde-Smith, and I have worked together on the NASA Enhanced Use Leasing Act of 2019. Extending this authority would allow NASA to enter into agreements with private sector entities, state and local governments, academic institutions, and other Federal Agencies to lease underutilized NASA property. These agreements can be used by NASA for capital improvements and to improve mission effectiveness.
Finally, I would like to thank Senator Cantwell for working with me on the Aviation War Risk Insurance Extension Act. This bill would extend critical authorities to the Secretary of Transportation that enable contracted air carrier assistance to be insured as they to continue to support vital defense operations.
With that, I turn to Senator Cantwell, for opening remarks that she may have.
Ranking Member Maria Cantwell
Senator Maria Cantwell
Opening Statement and Remarks before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Markup
December 11, 2019
CANTWELL: Thank you Mr. Chairman and thank you for today’s markup, in consideration of a number of important bipartisan bills. I want to begin by talking about the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The maritime economy is so important to the state of Washington, and its habitat drives an economic juggernaut. This legislation we are marking up today would expand protections in important ways by assistance to marine mammals tangled in fish gear and other issues, will establish a rapid response and create a study on harmful algae blooms and issues plaguing many of our coastal states and environments.
The NOAA-commissioned officers corps, and NOAA itself, was established in its current form in 1970 and has historically paralleled the military service, so I’m proud to support senators Sullivan and Schatz in updating the NOAA Corps Authorization, and I appreciate the sponsors’ and Senator Rand for working this out and improving NOAA’s ability to train pilots and co-locate NOAA facilities with university partners where appropriate.
The committee unanimously reported out this bill last month to address loopholes in NOAA policy and to prevent inadequate response to sexual harassment. So together these bills, we believe, will take NOAA to the next level with their workforce and mission.
We’re also considering a bipartisan bill from Senator Capito—I’m sorry, Senator Crapo—and Senator Klobuchar that will direct the FCC to put in place protections to prevent inadvertent locking of lawful telephone calls. This bill is an important additional step to the Committee’s work in stopping this scourge of illegal robocalls. I want to thank Senators Crapo and Klobuchar for their hard work on this issue.
I’m also proud to be a cosponsor of the legislation with Chairman Wicker to extend NASA’s enhancement use lease authority for two years. NASA uses this authority to lease unused NASA property to private companies and academic institutions. These lease agreements will allow NASA to generate millions of dollars of revenue from properties that would otherwise be sitting dormant. That money can be repurposed to critical maintenance needs. And in 2018 alone, this agreement generated $6.8 million in net revenue to the agency.
I’m also pleased to see we’re marking up the Traveling Parents Screening Consistency Act. This bill, by Senators Blumenthal and McSally, would require the Government Accountability Office to conduct reviews of implementing Bottles and Breastfeeding Equipment Screening Act of 2016, meant to improve the treatment of nursing parents while they’re traveling. Families deserve to have consistency here, and I appreciate our colleagues working on this.
We also have the FAM Act, which requires all medium and large hub airports in the United States to provide private spaces in the terminal for mothers to express breast milk. So I want to thank Senators Duckworth and Fisher for their work on this legislation.
The National Hotline Designation Act by Senators Gardner, Baldwin, Moran. I’m proud that this legislation is moving today, it establishes a 9-8-8 as a new easy way to remember telephone numbers in the United States for suicide prevention and mental health crises. The bill would also require a report on an automatic dispatch location that would be conveyed with a 9-8-8 number. I want to commend Senator Baldwin on her work to add language to examine the need to provide resources to the National Suicide Hotline, to provide specialized service to the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and Queer Youth community and high-risk populations.
Also, the Drone Advisory Committee for 21st Century Act, by Senators Peters and Thune, we are considering this legislation as broad-based long-term federal advisory committee to provide the FAA with the advice they need on key unmanned aircraft issues. The bill would take important steps to encourage our country and tribal governments, agriculture, forestry, rangeland sectors, and others who continue to utilize drones in innovative ways. So I thank our colleagues for this important legislation.
I am happy to join the Chairman on the legislation on Aviation War Risk Insurance Extension Act, critical insurance to provide coverage for hostile acts of violence against airlines, such as terrorism, hijacking, or sabotage. And I’m very excited, I should say, that we are marking up the Arctic Shipping Advisory Committee Act. Very excited because I think this is very important legislation to improve the reliability of Arctic maritime transportation. This is important to both Senators Sullivan and Murkowski, and I appreciated working with them on what will be an important aspect of future maritime transport. The United States cannot ignore the opening of the Arctic and this bill will help us get solutions to get our products more safely through that region.
I also want to talk about the C-Band Spectrum Bill we’re considering. For decades, this committee has approached Spectrum in a broad, bipartisan fashion. Over the past seven years, for example, we’ve worked together to pass major spectrum bills that serve the foundation of our nation’s leadership in wireless, but we’ve also put money—raised from the auction—to good use, including cutting-edge nationwide wireless broadband support for first responders. So, for the first time today, the bipartisan consensus on Spectrum threatens to be broken apart. The ones who will suffer most will be the American people, if they remain stuck on the wrong side of this divide. I hope our Committee can come to terms with being very specific about the many uses that we would like to see Spectrum dollars go for.
That is what I think our most important role here is—to make sure these issues of rural broadband, emergency services, 9-1-1, fire, and underserved households are addressed. And I hope that we will be able to do that in the very near future.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.