Capitol Hill

2015 offers a net neutrality solution

The calendar ticks over a new year, and here we are, still arguing about net neutrality. 2014 was a wild ride for this perennial telecom issue, but there is good reason to believe 2015 can be different. With President Obama giving the debate a potent push leftward toward Title II regulation, a new Republican Congress looking to respond and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) hoping to move on and get something out the door in February, the issue is quickly nearing a crescendo.

Ranking Member Johnson Introduces STEM Opportunities Act

H.R. 467 would require federal agencies that fund scientific research to collect more comprehensive demographic data on the recipients of federal research awards and on STEM faculty at U.S. universities (while protecting individuals' privacy); promote data-driven research on the participation and trajectories of women and underrepresented minorities in STEM so that policy makers can design more effective policies and practices to reduce barriers...

Bid to end Keystone debate fails

The Senate on Monday failed to end debate on legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, making it likely that a final vote on the measure won't take place until next week. In a 53-39 vote, the Senate fell six votes short of the 60 needed to end debate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) switched his vote from yes to no, a procedural move that allows him to bring up the motion again.

Lawmakers launch tech diversity caucus

Members of both chambers of Congress on Monday launched a bipartisan caucus aimed at getting more women, minorities and veterans into the tech sector. The eight leaders of the new Diversifying Technology Caucus said that the effort will work with the startup advocacy group Engine to push for greater inclusiveness and diversity in the industry, which has been criticized for being overly male, white and Asian-American.

Sony Hack Is a Corporate Cyberwar Game Changer

The question now is how the administration and Congress will respond. "This is a whole new day in cyberspace for a host of reasons," Rogers said in remarks at the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington think tank. "Now the United States is going to have to show that it will not tolerate it because everyone's watching. Iran is watching, Russia's watching. China's watching. Every international criminal organization is watching."

Measure could accelerate offshoring of U.S. jobs, critics argue

IEEE-USA said the legislation, introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday, will "help destroy" the U.S. tech workforce with guest workers. Other critics, including Ron Hira, a professor of public policy at Howard University and a leading researcher on the issue, said the bill gives the tech industry "a huge increase in the supply of lower-cost foreign guest workers so they can undercut and replace American workers."

Obama Mentions Tech, Cybersecurity in 2015 State of the Union

Dipping his toe briefly into the topic of technology, the president called for continued innovation, whether it’s to build new body prosthesis here on Earth or to continue pushing into the solar system, “not just to visit, but to stay.” Economics was the president’s main focus, and among his proposals was a call to close “tax loopholes” that encourage companies to invest abroad.

R&D on drones

The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee plans a hearing Wednesday afternoon on unmanned aerial systems R&D, with testimony from, among others, John Lauber, co-chair of the National Research Council Committee on Autonomy research for Civil Aviation; John Hansman, professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT, and senior NASA and Federal Aviation Administration officials.

Canada still expecting Keystone approval

Canada’s government is still expecting the Obama administration to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, despite recent doubts about the project from President Obama. Greg Rickford, Canada’s minister for natural resources, said Wednesday that he supports the State Department’s process, even though it has taken more than six years, and believes it will result in an approval.

U.S. senators seek bill to spur hiring of foreign high-tech workers

Republican and Democratic senators introduced legislation on Tuesday that would make it easier for high-tech firms in the United States to hire more foreign specialists in science, technology and engineering.

Senate advances Keystone bill

Legislation to approve the Keystone XL pipeline cleared a procedural hurdle on Monday in a 63-32 vote, overcoming a filibuster and setting up debate on the controversial bill. The Senate is expected to begin debate on the bill on Tuesday, but votes on amendments aren't expected until sometime next week.

Keystone on the brink

Senators pushing a bill to force approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline scrambled Wednesday to keep the project alive — a day after the White House threatened to veto the bill. The main Republican and Democrat who support the pipeline met the past two days to plot a strategy for the bill’s passage.

Sony hack could be game changer

The high-profile hack at Sony Pictures has injected new urgency into the years-old push for cybersecurity legislation, with a broad spectrum of lawmakers suddenly vowing to take action in the new Congress. “It’s basically fair game for everything cyber” after the cyberattack on Sony, said Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, a lobbyist at Monument Policy Group, which represents tech giants like Microsoft.

For the US connected classroom, a leap forward

(C|Net) - Broadband will be the key platform that will allow the widespread use of amazing innovation around educational content that many talented teachers and entrepreneurs are already developing and using. Some of these technologies enable distance learning, giving students in rural communities access to specialized or advanced classes not available in their hometowns. Others use cutting-edge software and data analytics to personalize learning while multiplying teachers' impact.

Keystone XL oil pipeline up first in GOP Senate

Incoming Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the first order of business in the next Congress will be to approve a controversial oil pipeline. "We'll be starting next year with a job-creating bill that enjoys significant bipartisan support," McConnell told reporters, "First item up in the new Senate will be the Keystone XL pipeline."

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