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Unlocking Small Business Retirement Security

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/27/2019 - 11:30am

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled,“Unlocking Small Business Retirement Security.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:30 A.M. on Wednesday, March 27, 2019 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Retirement security is one of the most important issues facing Americans today. Retirement benefits not only provide future financial security for business owners and employees, but also allow entrepreneurs the ability to attract and retain talented individuals as their businesses grow.  However, many retirement plans are complicated and expensive to start and maintain. These challenges lead many small business owners to forgo such a plan, leaving the employers and the employees without adequate retirement savings. The hearing will examine the options for small employers, the benefits and barriers they face in offering plans, and options for expanding coverage.


Hearing Notice 

Witnesses 

Ms. Martella A. Turner-Joseph 
Founding Partner
Joseph & Turner Consulting Actuaries, LLC 
New York, NY 
 *Testifying on behalf of the American Retirement Association 
Testimony

Mr. Paul F. Davidson
Director
Product Management Paychex, Inc.
Rochester, NY
Testimony

Mr. Keith Hall 
President and Chief Executive Officer
National Association for the Self-Employed
Washington, DC
Testimony


*Witness testimony will be posted within 24 hours after the hearing’s occurrence

Witness List
 

Our Blue Economy: Successes and Opportunities

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “Our Blue Economy: Successes and Opportunities,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. The hearing will examine stakeholder perspectives on marine economic development and the need for federal investments in ocean technologies and fisheries.

The State of Airline Safety: Federal Oversight of Commercial Aviation

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, will convene a hearing titled, “The State of Airline Safety: Federal Oversight of Commercial Aviation,” at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. In light of the recent tragedy in Ethiopia and the subsequent grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, this hearing will examine challenges to the state of commercial aviation safety, including any specific concerns highlighted by recent accidents.

Cleared for Take-off? Implementation of the Small Business Runway Extension Act

House Small Business Committee News - Tue, 03/26/2019 - 10:00am

The Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure will meet for a hearing titled, “Cleared for Take-off? Implementation of the Small Business Runway Extension Act.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 A.M. on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

H.R. 6330, the Small Business Runway Extension Act was signed into law on December 2018 and was designed to assist small business successfully bridge the gap between competing in the small business space and the open marketplace against larger companies. The Small Business Administration is working on regulations for the law’s implementation. The hearing will consider the current state of H.R. 6330’s implementation and potential solutions to mitigate any challenges during the process and if steps may be necessary to expand its reach.  


Hearing Notice 

Witnesses 

Mr. David Black
Partner
Holland & Knight 
Tysons, VA
Testimony

Ms. Megan C. Connor   
Partner
PilieroMazza PLLC
Washington, DC
Testimony 

Mr. Brian Morales 
President
ProCal Lighting 
Vista, CA
*Testifying on behalf of the National Electrical Contractors Association
Testimony 

Ms. Erin Allen   
President
Contemporaries, Inc.
Silver Spring, MD
*Testifying in her role as a board member on behalf of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
Testimony 

 

*Witness testimony will be posted within 24 hours after the hearing’s occurrence

Witness List
 

Small Business Perspectives on a Federal Data Privacy Framework

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., chairman of the Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, will convene a hearing titled, “Small Business Perspectives on a Federal Data Privacy Framework,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. The hearing will focus on the data privacy issues that impact small businesses and the unique challenges they face with laws designed for larger companies.

Third Circuit Limits the FTC’s Authority to Challenge Ceased Conduct

WLF Legal Pulse - Wed, 03/20/2019 - 4:30pm
Featured Expert Contributor, Antitrust & Competition Policy — Federal Trade Commission M. Sean Royall, a Partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, with Richard H. Cunningham, a Partner and Emily Riff, an Associate, both with the firm. For a printer-friendly version of this post, click here. On February 25, 2019, the Third Circuit issued a …

Continue reading Third Circuit Limits the FTC’s Authority to Challenge Ceased Conduct

Categories: Latest News

Committee Announces Hearing on Blue Economy

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “Our Blue Economy: Successes and Opportunities,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. The hearing will examine stakeholder perspectives on marine economic development and the need for federal investments in ocean technologies and fisheries.

Subcommittee to Hold Hearing on Airline Safety

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, chairman of the Subcommittee on Aviation and Space, will convene a hearing titled, “The State of Airline Safety: Federal Oversight of Commercial Aviation,” at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27, 2019. In light of the recent tragedy in Ethiopia and the subsequent grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, this hearing will examine challenges to the state of commercial aviation safety, including any specific concerns highlighted by recent accidents.

Subcommittee Announces Hearing on Impact of Data Privacy Challenges on Small Businesses

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., chairman of the Subcommittee on Manufacturing, Trade, and Consumer Protection, will convene a hearing titled, “Small Business Perspectives on a Federal Data Privacy Framework,” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. The hearing will focus on the data privacy issues that impact small businesses and the unique challenges they face with laws designed for larger companies.

Wicker Adds Chief of Investigations to Commerce Committee

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today announced the committee’s chief of investigations.

Mr. Hinman’s Metaphysics: Some Thoughts on Reexamining the Utility Token

WLF Legal Pulse - Tue, 03/19/2019 - 10:52am
Featured Expert Contributor, Legal & Regulatory Challenges for Digital Assets By Daniel S. Alter, a Shareholder in the New York, NY office of Murphy & McGonigle P.C. A common criticism of Sigmund Freud is that he built a theory of the human psyche based largely upon experiences of the mentally ill.  The U.S. Securities and …

Continue reading Mr. Hinman’s Metaphysics: Some Thoughts on Reexamining the Utility Token

Categories: Latest News

Update: Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of “Diet Sodas Cause Weight Gain” Class Action

WLF Legal Pulse - Mon, 03/18/2019 - 11:26am
Last May on the eve of Memorial Day, we wrote about a Southern District of New York decision dismissing a class action against Pepsi-Cola. On Friday, March 15, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a Summary Order (which has no precedential value) affirming the lower court’s decision. …

Continue reading Update: Second Circuit Affirms Dismissal of “Diet Sodas Cause Weight Gain” Class Action

Categories: Latest News

This Justin: Timberlake Out of Suit but False-Labeling Action against Bai Beverage Mostly Survives

WLF Legal Pulse - Thu, 03/14/2019 - 1:29pm
Here at the WLF Legal Pulse, we routinely discuss class-action lawsuits filed against consumer-product makers, especially those who manufacture packaged foods. Plaintiffs’ lawyers have been clogging the aisles of grocery stores for years dissecting food labels for any possible regulatory misstep and perhaps signing up new clients in the process. We could write far more …

Continue reading This Justin: Timberlake Out of Suit but False-Labeling Action against Bai Beverage Mostly Survives

Categories: Latest News

Wicker Convenes Hearing on U.S. Leadership in Space

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today convened the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for a hearing titled, “The New Space Race: Ensuring U.S. Global Leadership on the Final Frontier.” The hearing discussion focused on the U.S. government’s strategy for maintaining leadership in space, ensuring space industry competitiveness, and addressing challenges to America’s spacefaring preeminence.

“Flipping the Switch on Rural Digital Entrepreneurship”

House Small Business Committee News - Wed, 03/13/2019 - 11:30am

The Committee on Small Business will meet for a hearing titled, “Flipping the Switch on Rural Digital Entrepreneurship.” The hearing is scheduled to begin at 11:30 A.M. on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 in Room 2360 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

According to U.S. Census data, only 17 percent of businesses are located in rural areas despite 97 percent of the nation being classified as rural. Digital tools have changed the way many rural entrepreneurs are starting and growing their business. By embracing digital engagement, Main Street firms are experiencing greater sales both locally and globally. Yet, rural entrepreneurs still face challenges in fully utilizing digital technologies. The hearing will review the opportunities online technology holds and examine the barriers rural small businesses face in fully embracing it.


Hearing Notice 

Witnesses 

Mr. Dana F. Connors 
President & CEO
Maine State Chamber of Commerce
Augusta, ME
*Testifying on behalf of the Maine State Chamber

Mr. Jake Ward
President
Connected Commerce Council 
Washington, DC


*Witness testimony will be posted within 24 hours after the hearing’s occurrence

Witness List
 

The New Space Race: Ensuring U.S. Global Leadership on the Final Frontier

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, will convene a hearing titled, “The New Space Race: Ensuring U.S. Global Leadership on the Final Frontier,” at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 13, 2019. The hearing will discuss the U.S. government’s strategy for maintaining leadership in space, ensuring space industry competitiveness, and addressing challenges to spacefaring preeminence.

<p>CANTWELL: Thank you, Chairman Wicker

CANTWELL: Thank you, Chairman Wicker. And thank you for holding today’s hearing on maintaining U.S. leadership in space. Obviously this year, 2019, astronauts will be returning to the International Space Station from America’s soil for the first time in nearly a decade. And just last week, SpaceX successfully completed an un-crewed demonstration launch to the International Space Station. Space tourism is just around the corner, and Virgin Galactic recently completed a piloted mission; we expect to see Blue Origin flying people in the very near future. In the chairman’s statement, he talked about Mississippi and NASA and how they will complete the final tests on the Space Launch System; the most powerful rocket built in advance of the 2020 mission.

As we look at these accomplishments and hear about our commercial space mission this morning, we also need to look at the challenges of maintaining our leadership role. Other nations are maturing their space capabilities and could – and the United States need to keep pace. I appreciate the administration’s focus on maintaining the nation’s focus on space, but the budget request they put forward undermines this goal. We need to make sure that there are resources and the budget seems to cut some of the very programs we need to keep this leadership.

A prime example is the International Space Station. It has been successful and other countries are developing their own space stations. So we see the administration proposing ending funding for the space station by 2025, so maybe the witnesses can speak to that today. Standing up commercial space capabilities takes a long time, and after years of longer initial planning by the commercial crew program, we need to continue these efforts. We cannot have a gap in what is the space capabilities as other nations are looking in the same area.

The administration’s proposed budget cuts are concerning on a number of fronts. For starters, cutting funding to the enhanced upper stage, the component of space launch systems that will enable long term goals of the program, is problematic. Also, the administration is proposing to cancel the Earth Science Mission and zero out the funding of the Office of STEM Engagement. NASA is uniquely positioned to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers, and canceling relatively low-dollar education programs, I think, is short sighted.

So all of these cuts, I’m sure last year Congress rejected most of them, I expect that Congress will see the wisdom of rejecting them again. Nonetheless, it is important to bring up that we have to make the right prioritization of these programs if we want to continue these missions going forward. So I look forward to discussing these this morning, Mr. Chairman. Thank you again for calling the hearing and I look forward to hearing from our witnesses in their leadership role on these important issues.

<p>This morning we will deal with the

This morning we will deal with the new space race. In his famous 1962 speech announcing that the United States would land on the Moon by decade’s end, President John F. Kennedy said, “no nation which expects to be the leader of other nations can expect to stay behind in the race for space.” Those words hold true today.

We are delighted to have two witnesses who are helping to ensure that the United States maintains global leadership in space:

  • The Honorable Jim Bridenstine, Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
  • And Mr. Kevin O’Connell, Director of the Office of Space Commerce at the Department of Commerce

We are grateful to have you here and thank you presence, looking forward to your testimony.

2019 is an exciting year for space. July 20thwill mark the 50thanniversary of the NASA Apollo-11 mission — I was in a dormitory in Oxford, Mississippi on that particular date, hard to believe — which landed humans on the Moon and fulfilled President Kennedy’s bold vision for human space exploration.

By year’s end, NASA Commercial Crew program will be launching American astronauts, from American soil, and by American companies.

NASA’s flagship human exploration program — the Space Launch System (SLS) launch vehicle and Orion spacecraft — will likely achieve a number of milestones this year, including the core stage assembly and integration. That would be followed by test firing the core stage at Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The dedicated workforce and testing assets at Stennis show the importance of maintaining national space infrastructure and programs.  

We’ve entered into a new space race. This race is different from the one America won fifty years ago. The new space race has three dimensions:

First, the United States must maintain its position as the international “partner of choice” for current and aspiring spacefaring nations. Strengthening international partnerships through cooperation on space endeavors enhances our prestige around the world. The International Space Station is a key part of U.S. global leadership, but NASA’s FY 2020 budget request proposes to end funding for the ISS in 2025.

Witnesses should detail opportunities to enhance space partnerships with other nations and demonstrate how the budget request supports those efforts.

Secondly, America must maintain our position as the focal point for space commerce. We want space companies to be established and continue to grow in the United States. The global space industry is expected to grow from around $400 billion today to nearly $3 trillion over the next two decades.  

President Trump has supported the commercial space industry through policies to streamline regulations for launch, remote sensing, spectrum usage, and export control. In particular, I commend the Vice President’s leadership of the National Space Council, which has achieved interagency consensus on critical issues and provided bold and clear direction on space policy. 

Perhaps Mr. O’Connell will address the current state of the industry and provide the committee with a progress report on meeting various Space Policy Directives to promote the commercial space industry. Administrator Bridenstine should also address NASA’s role in partnering with commercial providers and growing the industry. 

And third, as competition in commercial space heats up, we must stay ahead of rising space powers, notably China. Maintaining America’s position as the preeminent spacefaring nation is the final dimension of the new space race.

China’s space program could represent a significant challenge to American leadership in space. A recent Defense Intelligence Agency report noted that China’s space program “supports both civil and military interests.”  

In January, China became the first country to explore the far side of the Moon. By 2025, China plans to complete its satellite navigation system rival to GPS, launch a rover to Mars, operationalize a space station, and begin building a Moon base, among other ambitions.  

President Trump has provided clear direction for NASA to “lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration to enable human expansion across the solar system.” He is right.

I hope our witnesses will tell the committee how America can maintain an edge over foreign space programs and show how the budget request will help sustain American leadership in space.    

It is essential that we have consistency in policy, stable and sufficient funding, and a robust set of international and commercial partnerships to achieve these goals.

Against a backdrop of international competition and a burgeoning space industry, the stakes articulated by President Kennedy more than half a century ago are even higher today. I look forward to working with my colleagues to help sustain America’s space leadership and chief among those are my friend and our Ranking Member, Senator Cantwell. 

Wicker and Sinema Announce Net Neutrality Working Group

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and Kyrsten Sinema D-Ariz., announced a bipartisan working group focused on crafting a net neutrality proposal to encourage innovation, boost investment, and close the digital divide.

“The mission of this working group will be to put partisan politics aside in order to provide permanent internet protections,” said Wicker. “We need clear rules of the road that prohibit providers from blocking or throttling access to lawful content and provide transparency and consumer choice. We invite our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join us in this effort.”

“Net neutrality is critical to maintaining a vibrant internet. We need a modern, internet-specific framework that encourages the freedom and innovation that make the internet the vital tool it is today—and consumers and providers need stability. We will only achieve those goals by working across party lines to find a bipartisan solution,” said Sinema.

Wicker Announces Hearing on Aviation Safety

U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss. chairman of the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today issued the following statements about the plane crash that took place in Ethiopia, and announced a hearing on aviation safety.

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