Archives: Congressional Action

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Congressional Forecast: September

The House and Senate are entering their respective final runs before the November midterm elections, following a two-day break for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year — even though the possibility of Hurricane Florence entering the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area cut short an already shortened week. The pressing items of business are funding the government … Continue Reading

Congressional Forecast: July

Congress returned from the July 4 recess to the much anticipated announcement by President Donald Trump of his nominee to succeed retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy. Former Kennedy law clerk Judge Brett Kavanaugh, a highly credentialed Washington, D.C., veteran with a dozen years of service on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, is … Continue Reading

GAO Testimony Before Congress Regarding Emerging Opportunities, Challenges, and Implications for Policy and Research with Artificial Intelligence

Timothy M. Persons, GAO Chief Scientist Applied Research and Methods, recently provided testimony on artificial intelligence (“AI”) before the House of Representatives’ Subcommittees on Research and Technology and Energy, Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.  Specifically, his testimony summarized a prior GAO technological assessment on AI from March 2018.  Persons’ statement addressed three areas:  (1) … Continue Reading

Stronger patents dominate IP agenda in 115th Congress

Patents have been mainstay of the Judiciary Committee agenda in both chambers for more than a decade, but never before has the debate seemed so firmly focused on strengthening patent rights.  Significant patent bills are pending in both chambers, and the House and Senate Judiciary Committees have summoned Andrei Iancu, the new director of the … Continue Reading

Recent Developments in the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans

The solvency crisis bearing down on the multiemployer pension plan system has captured the attention of Capitol Hill.  Since March, the Joint Select Committee on Solvency of Multiemployer Pension Plans (the “Committee”) has held a series of hearings examining the multiemployer pension system.  Although it is unclear whether the bipartisan Committee ultimately will agree on … Continue Reading

Congressional Forecast: June

As the weeklong July 4 recess approaches, members of Congress are pursuing a busy legislative schedule, focused on the fiscal year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, some lesser FY 2019 appropriations bills, reform of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, immigration reform and border security, the farm bill authorization (set to lapse … Continue Reading

Senate Armed Services Committee Proposes Expansive but Unclear Software Review Provisions

As the Senate approaches the end of its debate on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, provisions of the bill regarding access to and review of information technology code deserve close attention.  These sections, if enacted, would significantly impact Department of Defense contractors and also would affect matters associated with investments subject … Continue Reading

The Congressional Agenda for May

Members of Congress return to Washington, D.C. this week for a three-week work period before the Memorial Day recess.  As with the congressional agenda in April, the Republican majority will work towards meeting deadlines on several priority items—Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 appropriations bills, the Farm Bill authorization (set to lapse in September), the Federal Aviation … Continue Reading

Senate Democrats Propose CONSENT Act

On April 10, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced new privacy legislation titled the Customer Online Notification for Stopping Edge-provider Network Transgressions (CONSENT) Act.  In a statement published on his website, Senator Markey referred to the legislation as a “privacy bill of rights” and explained that “[t]he avalanche of privacy violations by … Continue Reading

The Congressional Agenda for April

Today a three-week work period begins for Members of Congress arriving back in Washington, where President Trump has remained active (including via his Twitter account). The President has announced initiatives to address a host of topics, from immigration reform to international trade, as well as personnel changes within his Cabinet and White House staff. With the … Continue Reading

Political Law Potpourri—The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018

While the din over a possible government shutdown dominated the headlines, political law played a supporting role in the recently enacted Consolidated Appropriations Act (Pub. L. No. 115-141).  The content and omissions of the so-called “Omnibus” spending bill will be of interest to political actors in all sectors, but particularly those operating nonprofit entities engaged … Continue Reading

CLOUD Act Creates New Framework for Cross-Border Data Access

On March 23, 2018, Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (“CLOUD”) Act, which creates a new framework for government access to data held by technology companies worldwide.The CLOUD Act, enacted as part of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, has two components.Part I:  Extraterritorial Reach of U.S. Orders … Continue Reading

A Review of Pending FARA Reform Bills

In recent months, Congress’s efforts to reform dramatically the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) have picked up steam. As we explained in our recent FARA guide, FARA is a complex and broadly worded criminal statute that requires any “agent of a foreign principal” to register with the Department of Justice and file detailed public reports … Continue Reading

Giving The Middle Class Credit: With Latest Bill, Congress Is Taking A Step In The Right Direction

Bank-fintech partnerships are good for consumers and banks, as I recently explained in testimony to Congress during a hearing on the opportunities and challenges in the fintech marketplace. Consumers benefit because banks are able to use fintech to deliver safer, more transparent, lower cost and more convenient financial products and services to consumers over the … Continue Reading

The Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”): A Guide for the Perplexed

 Eighty years ago, Congress enacted the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”), requiring “foreign agents” to register with the Attorney General. As amended over the years, it applies broadly to anyone who acts on behalf of a “foreign principal” to, among other things, influence U.S. policy or public opinion. Until recently, it was a backwater of … Continue Reading

The Congressional Agenda for January

The Republican-led Congress and President Trump secured their first significant legislative victory with the December passage of tax reform legislation. Following that success, the GOP passed another temporary funding bill to avert a government shutdown before adjourning for the Christmas-New Year break. As a result, congressional leaders have again put off a resolution of a … Continue Reading

House Tax Bill Opens Door to Expanded Political Activity By Charities

There is one very important political law provision to watch as the tax bill moves to a final vote in the Senate, and potentially a conference committee reconciles the House and Senate versions.  This amendment will remove the ban on partisan political activities by charitable entities, churches, educational institutions and all other organizations exempt from … Continue Reading

Developments in U.S. Iran Sanctions

Administration Also Revises Russia Sanctions, Terminates Most Sudan Sanctions On October 13, President Trump announced that he would no longer certify to Congress that the suspension of U.S. sanctions against Iran pursuant to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”) is “appropriate and proportionate” to the steps that Iran has taken to terminate its illicit … Continue Reading

The Congressional Agenda for October

In contrast to the September work period, when a number of must-pass measures and a last-ditch (and eventually unsuccessful) effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act topped the congressional agenda, the three-week October session is likely to see Republican leaders in the House and Senate try to advance one of their central policy goals: comprehensive … Continue Reading

Framework for Tax Reform

This morning, the Unified Framework on Tax Reform was released by Republican members of the House Ways & Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee, and the Trump Administration.  Some high level summaries and observations follow. Individual Rates Doubles the standard deduction to $24,000 for a married couple filing jointly and $12,000 for a single individual, thus … Continue Reading

The Congressional Agenda for September

For the first months of united Republican governance in Washington, the new administration and Congress accomplished little: confirmation of a new Supreme Court justice, repeal of some late Obama-era regulations, and reform of the Department of Veterans Affairs. The failure to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, despite seven years of promises lingers as … Continue Reading
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