Following our last roundup, Senators introduced a spate of new legislation on emerging technology and S&T before heading home for Memorial Day. House members showed a similarly high level of interest by introducing a host of new bills just before and after the holiday weekend. Our latest roundup highlights new proposals worth knowing about, including several included as part of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act approved by the Senate this week.
S. 1846, Surveillance and free speech Protection Enhancement in Export controls for Censorship and Human Rights (SPEECH) Act
On May 26, Senators Cornyn (R-TX), Casey (D-PA), Warner (D-VA) and Rubio (R-FL) introduced S. 1846, the bipartisan Surveillance and free speech Protection Enhancement in Export controls for Censorship and Human Rights (SPEECH) Act. It would require the Department of Commerce to:
- Review items that enable surveillance, censorship, biometric identification of individuals, or DNA sequencing; and
- Determine whether end-use or end-user export controls on such items are necessary in order to protect human rights.
The sponsors proposed the measure as an amendment to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act, the final version of which passed the Senate this week by a vote of 68 to 32.
S. 1854, National Critical Capabilities Defense Act
On May 26, Senators Casey (D-PA) and Cornyn (R-TX) introduced the National Critical Capabilities Defense Act. It would establish a Committee on National Critical Capabilities composed of officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Departments of Commerce, Treasury, Defense, and others. The bill requires that U.S. firms report investments in national security-relevant supply chain capabilities in countries of concern, such as China or Russia. The Committee on National Critical Capabilities is authorized to review reported transactions and block them, if it is deemed that such transactions would jeopardize U.S. access to critical resources. The bill has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee.
On May 26, Senators Hassan (D-NH) and Blackburn (R-TN) introduced the Mathematical and Statistical Modeling Education Act to support updates to K-12 mathematics curriculum. Representatives Houlahan (D-PA) and Baird (R-IN) introduced a companion version in the House on May 28. The bipartisan, bicameral bill would authorize the National Science Foundation to award grants “focused on modernizing mathematics in STEM education through mathematical and statistical modeling, including through data-driven and computational thinking.” The respective bills have been referred to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and House Science, Space and Technology Committees.
S. 1924, A bill to direct the President to enforce the intellectual property provisions of the Economic and Trade Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of China, and for other purposes
On May 27, Senator Daines (R-MT) introduced S. 1924, a bill to direct the President to enforce the intellectual property provisions of the Economic and Trade Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of China. Now referred to the Senate Finance Committee, it appears to be similar to an amendment proposed by Senator Daines and adopted by the Senate for inclusion in the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act.
The amendment seeks to improve enforcement of intellectual property provisions in the “Economic and Trade Agreement Between the Government of the United States of America and the Government of China.” Specifically, the amendment encourages the U.S. Trade Representative and other agencies to use all available tools and consider additional measures to ensure address Chinese forced technology transfers and other unfair trade practices, and directs the President to use all available authorities to fully enforce intellectual property provisions of the trade agreement.
H.R. 3602, Computer Science for All Act
On May 28, Representatives Lee (D-CA) and Fleischmann (R-TN) introduced the Computer Science for All Act. The bipartisan bill would provide grants through the Department of Education to state and local education agencies and Tribal schools to develop computer science programs and serve as a model for similar programs around the country. Funds are prioritized for agencies and schools serving low-income and underserved populations. The measure authorizes $250 million for each of the next five fiscal years and directs that funds be used for:
- Teacher training;
- Expanding access to learning materials;
- Creating plans for expanded access to science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics education; and
- Reducing course equity gaps for students.
The bill has been referred to the House Education and Labor Committee.
H.R. 3619, Safeguarding United States Research Act
On May 28, Representative Ralph Norman (R-SC) introduced the Safeguarding United States Research Act, which would require that visa sponsors such as academic institutions notify the Department of Homeland Security if a visa recipient is participating in federally funded research. It also authorizes DHS to revoke the recipient’s visa if it determines the recipient has misrepresented their intentions in applying for the visa, or if the recipient is deemed to pose a risk to national security or the sponsor’s research integrity. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary and House Science, Space and Technology committees.
H.R. 3648, Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act
On June 1, Representatives Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and John Curtis (R-UT) led a group of 21 additional members in introducing the Equal Access to Green Cards for Legal Employment (EAGLE) Act. The bipartisan bill eliminates the current seven percent per-country cap on employment-based immigrant visas, with a nine-year phase out of caps on EB-2 and EB-3 visas, specifically. It also raises the per-country cap from seven to 15 percent for family-based immigrant visas. The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee, for which Rep. Lofgren serves as a senior member and as the chair of the Immigration and Citizenship Subcommittee. Similar legislation passed the House and Senate in the 116th Congress. However, the chambers were not able to agree on a final package before the end of the year and now must start over in the current congress.
H.R. 3723, Consumer Safety Technology Act
On June 4, Representatives McNerney (D-CA) and Burgess (R-TX) introduced H.R. 3723, the Consumer Safety Technology Act. The bipartisan bill directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to conduct a pilot program making use of artificial intelligence in tracking trends related to consumer product risk of injury, identifying consumer product hazards, monitoring the retail marketplace or identifying imported consumer products that should be refused admittance to the United States. It also requires studies on the potential benefits of blockchain technology in limiting fraud in the marketplace and actions taken by the CPSC to prevent unfair or deceptive acts using digital tokens. The bill has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.