James Langevin on Technology
Democratic Representative (RI-2)
Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:
Opponent's Argument for voting No:
[Rep. Waxman, D-CA]: This bill will cripple National Public Radio, public radio stations, and programming that is vital to over 27 million Americans. We are now voting to deny the public access to one of our Nation's most credible sources of news coverage. This bill does not save a penny. This legislation does not serve any fiscal purpose, but it does serve an ugly ideological one. This legislation is not about reforming NPR. It is about punishing NPR. It is vindictive, it is mean-spirited, it is going to hit the smallest stations in rural areas particularly hard. Public radio is indispensable for access to news that's hard to get, especially where broadband service is limited.
Proponent's argument to vote Yes:Rep. RICK BOUCHER (D, VA-9): Fully 6.5 million households are totally unprepared for the transition on February 17; these 6.5 million households will lose all of their television service, and that number represents about 5.7% of the total American television viewing public. If almost 6%of the nation's households lose all of their television service, I think that most people would declare that the digital television transition has been a failure. In recognition of that reality, this legislation would delay the transition until June 12.
Opponent's argument to vote No:Rep. JOE LINUS BARTON (R, TX-6): The majority is trying to fix a problem that I do not think really exists. We have sent out 33 million coupons: 22 million of those coupons have been redeemed, and 11 million coupons are outstanding. The outstanding coupons are being redeemed, I think, by about 500,000 a week, something like that. In my opinion, you could keep the hard date and not have a problem, but if you think there is a problem, it is not from lack of money. We have appropriated $1.3 billion. About half of that is still in the Treasury, so the redemption rate is only about 52%. Even though we are delaying this until June 12 if this bill becomes law, according to the acting chairman of the FCC, 61% of the television stations in America are going to go ahead and convert to digital. 143 television stations already have converted, and in those areas where they have converted, I am not aware that there has been a huge problem.
Rep. LANGEVIN. One issue that has been repeatedly addressed is whether telecommunications companies should be granted immunity against pending lawsuits for their involvement in the earlier surveillance program. This legislation preserves a role for the U.S. court system to decide independently whether the telecommunications companies acted in good faith. Only after that review would the courts decide whether the telecommunications companies deserve any form of liability protection.
Opponents argument for voting NAY: Rep. LEVIN. I oppose this bill because of the provisions that would confer retroactive immunity on the telecommunications companies that participated in the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program. It sets a dangerous precedent for Congress to approve a law that dismisses ongoing court cases simply on the basis that the companies can show that the administration told them that its warrantless surveillance program was legal. A program is not legal just because the administration claims that it is.
Rep. NADLER. The House must decide today whether to uphold the rule of law & the supremacy of the Constitution or whether to protect & reward the lawless behavior of the administration and of the telecommunications companies that participated in its clearly illegal program of spying on innocent Americans. The bill is a fig-leaf, granting blanket immunity to the telecom companies for illegal acts. It denies people whose rights were violated their fair day in court, and it denies the American people their right to have the actions of the administration subjected to fair & independent scrutiny.
Veto message from President Bush:
This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.
Founded in the spring of 1996, the Congressional Internet Caucus is a bipartisan group of over 150 members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet. The Caucus also encourages Members to utilize the Internet in communications with constituents and supports efforts to put more government documents online. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and the Internet Education Foundation host regular events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet-related policy issues.
Title: To protect individuals, families, and Internet service providers from unsolicited and unwanted electronic mail.
Congressional Summary:The Promoting and Enhancing Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Effectiveness Act (or PRECISE Act): NATIONAL CYBERSECURITY AUTHORITY: To protect Federal systems and critical infrastructure information systems and to prepare the Nation to respond to acts of cyberterrorism, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall--
Committee Discussion (Josh Smith in National Journal, & BankInfoSecurity.com, Feb. 1, 2012):Sponsor Dan Lundgren says the bill addresses cyber-risks "in the least disruptive manner." Some proposals in the Senate, for example, would give the DHS authority to regulate, rather than simply designate critical infrastructure. Lungren adds, "Preserving the status quo of voluntary action, are no longer acceptable."
The legislation would establish the National Information Sharing Organization, or NISO, that would facilitate the exchange of vital cyber-threat information. Karen Evans, Pres. Bush's CIO, questions the need for NISO: "Creating another organization seems like it will slow down process not necessarily enhance it."
Opponent's Comments (bungalowbillscw.blogspot.com, Feb. 2, 2012):[NISO is a] "public-private organization". America has plenty of them, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Why would the government need to get involved with corporations' cyber-protection? Sharing info is well and good, but this new cyber-security organization will begin to take control of cyber-security, after appropriating billions for research. What will this research comprise of? Bringing in experts and companies; then carbon-copying their tactics and making them mandatory; instead of letting the market pick the best tactics.
Congressional Summary:The Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (or OPEN Act) addresses unfair trade practices relating to infringement of copyrights and trademarks by certain Internet sites. Defines an 'Internet site dedicated to infringing activity' as a website that:
OnTheIssues Notes:This bill is intended as a replacement for SOPA and PIPA, the two bills which sparked an Internet protest in January 2012 and a shutdown of Wikipedia.com and google.com. Google and Facebook prefer the OPEN Act; the music and movie industries prefer SOPA and PIPA. Independent content creators, which include OnTheIssues.org and the Copyright Alliance, oppose all three bills on free speech grounds, and because large corporate website have resources to fight legal battles while small independent websites do not.
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Newly-elected Democrats taking office Jan.2017:
Newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2017:
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