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The US Week Ahead: Congress looks to advance top tech adviser for Trump


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The US Week Ahead: Congress looks to advance top tech adviser for Trump


Congress will have a relatively light week before picking up steam after Labor Day.

The Senate Commerce Committee will host an executive session Aug. 29 in which it will consider a slate of nominees as well as a variety of transportation, technology, science and marine bills. The committee, for instance, will consider the nomination of Kelvin Droegemeier to lead the White House's Office of Science and Technology Policy. The office advises the president on science and technology issues domestically and abroad. The position has been vacant for the entirety of U.S. President Donald Trump's administration. Earlier this year, a group of Senate Democrats sent a letter to Trump encouraging him to nominate someone for the position and detailed the importance of having such an adviser.

Both Commerce Committee Chairman John Thune, R-S.D., and ranking member Bill Nelson, D-Fla., have signaled support for Droegemeier, a meteorologist currently serving as the Oklahoma Secretary of Science and Technology. If the committee votes to approve Droegemeier, his nomination will proceed to the full Senate for final confirmation.

At the same session, the committee will do a markup on a bill that would direct the National Science Foundation to work with other federal agencies to encourage veterans to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and computer science. If enacted, the bill would require the National Science Foundation to submit a plan to Congress that details its outreach efforts.

The House of Representatives remains out on recess until Sept. 4.

Things look to pick up after Labor Day, when the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Sept. 4 to consider Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. Kavanaugh, who has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit since 2006, has described net neutrality rules as "unlawful." He has said that Congress has not authorized the Federal Communications Commission to impose net neutrality rules and that the net neutrality rules previously enacted by the FCC violated the first amendment rights of internet service providers to exercise "editorial discretion."

On Sept. 5, Twitter Inc. CEO Jack Dorsey will testify in front of the House Energy and Commerce Committee regarding the social media company's content monitoring and algorithms. Twitter has recently been accused of censoring certain viewpoints on its platform by Trump and prominent conservatives. The company denies the claims.

Turning to industry events, the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors will hold its annual conference from Aug. 27- Aug. 30. NATOA is a group that promotes community interests in telecommunications issues. The conference will host a broad range of sessions on topics, including franchising, community broadband, small-cell siting, public safety, video programming, cinematic storytelling, hands-on editing and social media. It will also discuss new legislation and technology affecting local governments.

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Aug. 29 The Senate Commerce Committee will hold an executive session to consider a range of nominees and bills on transportation, technology, science and marine topics.
Aug. 26-31 The SANS Institute, an organization that provides information security training, will teach a range of cybersecurity courses in San Francisco at its "San Francisco Summer 2018" event.
Industry events:
Aug. 27-30 The National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors will host a conference in Philadelphia, Pa.
Aug. 28-30 Parks Associates, an internet of things market research and consulting firm, will host a summit in San Diego, titled "2018 Connected Health Summit."

Stories of note:

Verizon lifts speed caps for disaster response teams after throttling claims

California's net neutrality bill advances in state legislature

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