The House of Representatives formally established the new “Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party,” with a bipartisan vote of 365-65. The Select Committee, to be chaired by Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a former military intelligence officer who also serves on the House Intelligence Committee, has been

In a new post on the Inside Tech Media blog, our colleagues discuss the “Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act,” which President Biden signed into law in the final days of 2022.  The Act recognizes that current encryption protocols used by the federal government might one day be vulnerable to compromise as a result of

Today, the American Music Fairness Act (“AMFA”) will take a step forward as the bill is set for mark up with the House Judiciary Committee.  The Copyright Act provides exclusive rights to publicly perform sound recordings by means of digital audio transmissions (e.g., internet and satellite), and AMFA is the latest attempt to extend such rights to analog audio transmissions (e.g., terrestrial radio). 

Marking up the bill at this late stage of the Congressional term may mean the bill is tacked on to end-of-year spending packages (as with the CASE Act in 2020), or more likely that it will be taken up again next Congress.  With bipartisan and bicameral support of members on the relevant Committees of jurisdiction, AMFA could still move in a divided Congress, making it all the more important for stakeholders to engage now if they want to support or make changes to the bill.

The AMFA Bill

The bipartisan AMFA bill was first introduced in the House on June 24, 2021 (H.R.4130), and its companion Senate bill followed on September 22, 2022 (S.4932).  Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) recently became the House bill’s primary sponsor after its original sponsor Rep. Ted Deutch (D-CA) left Congress.

The bill would amend Section 106(6) of the Copyright Act, which provides the exclusive right to publicly perform sound recordings via “digital audio transmission,” by deleting the word “digital.”  AMFA also attempts to address some criticisms that faced similar predecessor bills.  For example, AMFA proposes low flat fees for certain nonsubscription broadcast transmissions by public or smaller commercial stations, and other fees would be set in rate-setting proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board.  Such rate-setting proceedings would take account of economic, competitive, and programming information, and whether transmissions substitute for or promote record sales, and interfere with or enhance other revenue streams for sound recording owners. 

Continue Reading CONGRESS TO MARK UP THE AMERICAN MUSIC FAIRNESS ACT

The tech sector was both the beneficiary of immense public investments and the target of significant regulation from public policy makers in the past year.  This dynamic is expected to continue with the new Congress and the Administration.

In August, Congress enacted the bipartisan $280B CHIPS and Science Act to boost public and private sector investments in critical and emerging technologies.  The law included $50 billion for the CHIPS for America Fund, as well as a 25% tax credit for U.S. chip manufacturing.  The Commerce Department is expected to begin considering grant applications as soon as February and awarding funds next year.  The law also authorized, but did not fund, a host of new programs to spur research and development across the tech sector and to create a new technology directorate at the National Science Foundation.

Despite this major bipartisan law to support the tech industry, policymakers also supported significant new bills and regulations to rein in the sector.  Most prominently, Democrats and Republicans teamed up to sponsor a host of antitrust bills and hauled in top tech executives to testify and defend their practices. 

We expect a similar “hot-and-cold” dynamic in the new Congress with a mix of public support and scrutiny.  In line with its public support under the CHIPS and Science Act this year, Congress is expected to increase funding for the National Science Foundation to jumpstart a new era of invention and global technology leadership.  At the same time, the Republican majority in the House is likely to pursue an array of bills that challenge tech companies.  The focus is expected to shift from antitrust law toward content moderation and economic decoupling from China that are of particular interest to Republicans.

Continue Reading CONGRESS AND THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION TO CONTINUE PUBLIC SUPPORT AND SCRUTINY OF TECH SECTOR

With just one race in each chamber still pending, we know that in the 118th Congress, Republicans will control the House with a slim majority, and Democrats will hold the Senate with either 50 or 51 votes. Republicans will field new chairs for every House committee. On the Senate side, with Democrats maintaining control, there

Public Policy

With Senate Democrats having secured the 50th vote needed to maintain control of the Senate,  both parties are eagerly awaiting the results of the Georgia runoff on December 6 between Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) and Republican candidate Herschel Walker.  If Walker wins, the Senate will be split 50-50.  The implications of a 51–49 Democratic majority versus a 50–50 Democratic majority are significant.

An Equally Divided Senate

Since February 3, 2021, the Senate has operated under an organizing resolution negotiated by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  The organizing resolution formalized a power-sharing agreement for the 117th Congress and was largely modeled on the 2001 power-sharing agreement reached by then-Democratic leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) and then-Republican leader Trent Lott (R-MS) following the November 2000 elections that resulted in a 50–50 Senate split for the 107th Congress.  The 2021 power-sharing agreement laid out internal rules of the Senate, apportioned the makeup and control of committees, and prescribed procedures for the control of Senate business.  Specifically, the 2021 power-sharing agreement provides that:

  • Senate committees be equally balanced with members of both parties;
  • The majority and minority on each committee have equal budgets and office space;
  • If a subcommittee vote is tied on either legislation or a nomination, the committee chair may discharge the matter and place it on the full committee’s agenda;
  • If a committee vote is tied, the Majority or Minority Leader may offer a motion to discharge the measure from committee, subject to a vote by the full Senate;
  • Debate may not be cut off for the first 12 hours; and
  • It is the “sense of the Senate” that both Majority and Minority leaders “shall seek to attain an equal balance of the interests of the two parties” when scheduling and debating legislative and executive business.


Continue Reading Governing the Senate in the 118th Congress

The post-election Life Sciences policy menu can generally be described as lame duck leftovers and meaty oversight next Congress.

A number of “super riders” and other add-ons were  ultimately not included in the 5 year re-authorization of the various FDA user-fee acts (UFAs), “clean” versions of which passed in the current Continuing Resolution (CR).

Since the must-pass UFAs are typically a vehicle for other health policy related reforms, stakeholders were understandably disappointed – but remain hopeful of moving their priorities during the lame duck session.  

For what it is worth, there is some level of bipartisan support for attaching each of the super riders in the end of year package — including The VALID Act (Lab Developed Tests), Cosmetics reform, Dietary Supplement Reform, ARPA-H authorizing legislation and the PREVENT Pandemics Act — as well as a mental health package and targeted reforms that address, among other things, insulin pricing, clinical trial diversity and accelerated approval. But there are many competing priorities and time is short.

Next Congress will see attention to the landmark Medicare negotiations and other Rx price controls of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which were unanimously opposed by the GOP.  Efforts to repeal writ large are a non-starter — though bills have been introduced to do just that. While some Republicans might recognize the need to make substantive changes, politically that could also be a non-starter because, like with the ACA, there will be resistance to making what in their minds is bad legislation marginally less bad.

Continue Reading  Post-Election Life Sciences Policy Menu

On September 29, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a package of three antitrust bills (H.R. 3843) by a vote of 242-184. The package includes: (1) the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act; (2) the Foreign Merger Subsidy Disclosure Act; and (3) the State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act.

The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act updates the structure and amounts of premerger filing fees that the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) and Department of Justice (“DOJ”) collect pursuant to the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976. The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act reduces fees for smaller transactions, increases fees for mergers valued at $1 billion or greater, and adjusts the filing fee amounts for each future year based on changes in the Consumer Price Index. Finally, the bill requires the FTC and DOJ to report each year on the total revenue generated from premerger notification filing fees, broken out by tier, and the FTC must also include in the report a list of all actions the agency took or declined to take based on a 3-to-2 vote.

The Foreign Merger Subsidy Disclosure Act requires parties submitting premerger notifications to disclose detailed information on subsidies from a “foreign entity of concern.” A foreign entity of concern is defined under 42 U.S.C. § 18741(a) and includes those designated foreign terrorist organizations, on the Specially Designated and Blocked Persons List, and alleged to be involved in espionage or unauthorized conduct detrimental to the national security or foreign policy of the United States. The definition further covers entities owned by, controlled by, or subject to the direction of the governments of the Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea, the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, or the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Continue Reading U.S. House of Representatives Passes Antitrust Legislative Package

On August 25, 2022, President Biden announced a new Executive Order (“EO”) addressing the Implementation of the CHIPS Act of 2022 (“CHIPS Act”).  The CHIPS Act was signed by President Biden on August 9, 2022, and, among other things, authorizes $39 billion in funding for new projects to establish semiconductor production facilities within the United

President Biden recently signed the $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act into law. It was the culmination of more than a year of bipartisan, bicameral negotiations to craft comprehensive innovation and competition legislation. As we previously reported, the new law includes a historic investment in domestic semiconductor manufacturing and the nation’s pursuit of science and technology leadership. But there’s another aspect of the bill that hasn’t garnered much media attention: it is permeated with provisions to expand opportunities to Americans who have been underrepresented in science and technology.

The CHIPS and Science Act is the most comprehensive effort in history to create opportunities in science and technology for women, people of color, and other underrepresented groups. The new law will advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in science and technology by:

  • Creating new research, invention, and entrepreneurial opportunities;
  • Authorizing $13 billion for STEM and invention education and providing teachers with the necessary resources to expand STEM;
  • Expanding access to the skills and training needed to join the scientific workforce;
  • Ensuring that people of color and other underrepresented groups have information about these opportunities;
  • Funding research on diversity and inclusion in the tech sector and sexual harassment in STEM fields;
  • Making federal agency policy and personnel changes related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, including developing caregiver policies for all science agencies and creating a position for a Chief Diversity Officer at the National Science Foundation (NSF)—the nation’s chief science agency; and
  • Recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion in national science and technology strategies.


Continue Reading More than Semiconductors and Science:  New Law Recognizes Role of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in America’s Global Competitiveness