|House Passes Trade
Promotion Authority Bill
|12/6. The House passed HR 3005,
the Bipartisan Trade Promotion Authority Act of 2001, by a
roll call vote of 215 to 214. See,
Call No. 481. It is sponsored by Rep. Bill Thomas
(R-CA), Rep. Cal Dooley
(D-CA), and others. Trade promotion authority (TPA), which is
also known as fast track, gives the President authority to
negotiate trade agreements which can only be voted up or down,
but not amended, by the Congress. TPA strengthens the
bargaining position of the President, and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR),
in trade negotiations with other nations.
Proponents of the bill stated that without this authority, the
President's bargaining power is limited, and as a result, the
U.S. is not a party to most free trade agreements. Opponents
said the bill lacked sufficient protections for labor, human
rights, and the environment.
House Speaker Denny
Hastert (R-IL) stated during the floor debate that
"If this vote prevails, the President has the authority
to negotiate further trade agreements. That is it. The
President still has to bring those agreements back to the
Congress for approval. If we don't like those deals, we can
still reject them. But if we vote down this legislation, we
send a terrible signal to the rest of the world. We say to the
world that the Congress will not trust the President to take a
lead on trade. We say to the world that the Congress is not
interested in promoting trade." He added in his speech
that "There are 170 free trade agreements around the
world. The United States has been party to two of them. We can
either watch from the sidelines or get in the game. Our
high-tech communities, our farmers, our manufacturing sector,
our exporters, they all want us to get in the game."
Rep. Bill Thomas
(R-CA), the Chairman of the House Ways and Means
Committee, which has jurisdiction over this bill, led the
effort to pass the bill. He led the negotiations with
pro-trade Democrats that resulted in the addition of language
pertaining to labor rights and the environment that won the
support of some Democrats. Thomas also managed the floor
debate in support of the bill.
Rep. Cal Dooley
(D-CA), Rep. William
Jefferson (D-LA), Rep.
John Tanner (D-TN), and Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA),
were the Democrats who actively worked for passage of the
bill. Rep. David Dreier
(R-CA) also actively promoted the bill. As Chairman of the Rules Committee, he
sent the bill to the floor with a rule that did not allow any
amendments. Speaker Hastert, and other Republican leaders,
rounded up Republican votes for the bill. The entire
Democratic leadership opposed the bill. Bush administration
officials, especially Commerce Secretary Donald Evans and U.S.
Trade Representative Robert Zoellick, lobbied extensively in
support of the bill.
USTR Zoellick released a statement
after the vote. He said that "Today's vote will help
increase momentum for our trade agenda. We are moving forward
with the global trade negotiations launched in Doha last
month, because we believe it is in America's strong interest
to seize the opportunity to further open the world's markets
for American farm products, goods, and services."
President Bush also released a statement
commending the House. He said that TPA "will give me the
flexibility I need to secure the greatest possible trade
opportunities for America's farmers, workers, families, and
consumers. Trade Promotion Authority is a key part of our
trade agenda. It will help us pursue and complete trade
agreements, including the global trade negotiations launched
last month in Doha".
The bill has yet to pass the Senate. Because of the different
make up of the Senate, there is broader support in that body
for TPA. Rep. Thomas stated after the vote that "you
don't need to worry about a cliff hanger vote in the
Senate." However, he added that it remains to be seen if
and when the Senate Democratic leadership will bring the bill
to the Senate floor vote.
|Analysis of the TPA Vote
|12/6. The strongest predictor of a Member's vote on the TPA
bill was party affiliation. All but 21 Democrats voted against
TPA. All but 23 Republicans voted for TPA. The few defections
tended to follow regional patterns.
Every Democrat from New England, the Mid Atlantic and Midwest,
except Rep. Baron Hill
(D-IN), voted against the bill. However, nine Republicans from
these northern states broke party ranks and voted against the
Also, in the Southern states facing the Atlantic ocean another
8 Republicans voted against the bill. In contrast, the western
part of the South accounted for most of the Democrats who
voted for the bill: 5 from Texas, 2 from Louisiana, and one
each from Missouri, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma,
Also, some of the Democrats who voted for the bill either
represent Mexican border districts, major seaports, or both.
These include Norman Dicks (Tacoma), Sue Davis (San Diego and
border), Jim Davis (Tampa), William Jefferson (New Orleans),
Ruben Hinojosa (border), and Solomon Ortiz (Corpus Christi and
The West Coast state members voted almost completely along
party lines. None of these Republicans voted against the bill.
Only three Democrats voted for the bill: Cal Dooley, Sue
Davis, and Norman Dicks.
|Technology, IPR and TPA
|12/6. Technology companies that export equipment, software,
or services, and that seek greater protection abroad for their
intellectual property rights, stand to benefit from the
enactment of TPA. Technology companies, and tech groups
advocated passage of the bill.
During the debate, Members who represent districts with tech
companies and workers stressed the importance of TPA for
technology trade. Rep.
Jennifer Dunn (R-WA), whose Seattle area district is home
to many Microsoft workers, stated that "trade promotion
authority means strengthening intellectual property
standards" and "reducing piracy" abroad.
Similarly, Rep. Jay
Inslee (D-WA) said that Microsoft's "intellectual
property is frequently stolen overseas."
Minority Leader Dick
Gephardt (D-MO) noted that while trade agreements used to
be about getting tariffs down, they now cover other things,
such as "how do we get intellectual property laws in
countries to be enforced."
Nevertheless, members from tech districts, and members who
have traditionally been strong supporters of tech, tended to
vote along party lines. For example, Rep. Inslee strongly
condemned the bill during the debate, and voted against it.
Similarly, the members of the Silicon Valley area delegation,
who are all Democrats (Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Mike Honda,
and Ellen Tauscher), voted against the bill. Rep. Rick Boucher
(D-VA), a Co-Chair of the Internet Caucus, also voted no. Only
a few tech Democrats crossed over to vote for the bill. Rep. James Moran from
northern Virginia was one of its most vocal supporters. Rep. Bill Etheridge
from the Research Triangle in North Carolina also voted for
|215 to 214
|12/6. Legislative votes are frequent, routine, and dull
events. The House has held almost 500 roll call votes so far
this year. Few of these votes are either close or
controversial. The TPA vote was an exception.
Members vote electronically on the floor of the House. Each
member has a Vote ID Card which is inserted into a slot. The
the Member then pushes a "yes", "no", or
"present" button. Votes then appear on a giant
electronic board on a wall high above the chamber floor. When
someone votes "yes", a green light appears by their
name. When someone votes "no", a red light appears.
If a Member makes a mistake, or wishes to change a vote, they
may do so. The rules also allow Members to vote with paper
ballots in the well of the House, just in front of the
Speaker's Chair. There is a red ballot for voting
"no", and a green ballot for voting "yes".
Speaker Hastert scheduled fifteen minutes for the TPA vote. As
the fifteen minutes progressed, the "no" column held
a slight lead throughout. Normally, shortly after the end of
the time allotted for the vote, the acting speaker asks if
there are any more votes, and then closes the vote by banging
the gavel. After the end of 15 minutes, the "no"
column was still up by about 10 votes. Many members had not
yet voted, even though they stood in the chamber. Hastert kept
the vote open while TPA proponents tried to find more votes.
The "no" lead slowly came down as Hastert, Thomas,
Dreier, and other TPA proponents schmoozed with wavering
After half an hour, Democrats yelled to close the vote.
Hastert had his arm around a 27 year old Republican from
Florida who had voted "no". But, this freshman would
not budge. Dreier sat talking with a fellow Republican from
southern California, who would not cast his vote. After 45
minutes, Democrats clapped in unison. Hastert prowled the
aisles looking for more votes. It was an arm twisting contest,
and Hastert was determined to keep the clock running until he
was ahead. After an hour, Hastert was still down three votes;
no more movement was taking place. But, the House chamber
remained packed with Members awaiting the finish.
A dejected Bill Thomas marched down into the well, and grabbed
a red ballot. He swung around to face the Republicans. He
angrily held the card high over his head. This is a sign of
defeat. (By voting against the proposition he would preserve
the option of later bringing a motion for reconsideration.)
Others rushed to the well to dissuade him.
Then, a vote switched. On the electric scoreboard, the
"yes" votes were down by just one vote. Two wavering
Republicans, who had not voted, cast "yes" votes.
The scoreboard flashed 215 "yes", to 214
"no". The gavel dropped immediately. Hastert would
allow no time for any more vote changes. It was over. TPA
Afterwards, Hastert, Thomas, Dreier, Democrats who voted for
the bill, and others, walked out the main front door of the
House of Representatives to hold a celebratory press
conference in the evening twilight. Secretary of Commerce
Donald Evans and USTR Robert Zoellick joined them in front of
the Capitol Building. Seattle's Jennifer Dunn proclaimed that
this means "increased jobs at Microsoft and the dot coms."
Dreier was jubilant in victory. Thomas was emotional; he
started to thank the Democrats who actively supported the bill
-- Dooley, Tanner, and Jefferson -- and broke down and cried.
Hastert said "It is nice to have this bill over."
|House Committee Authorizes
Cyber Security Funding
|12/6. The House
Science Committee approved HR 3394,
the Cyber Security Research and Development Act, by a
unanimous voice vote. The bill, which is sponsored by Rep. Sherwood Boehlert
(R-NY) and others, would authorize the funding of new research
and education programs pertaining to cyber security.
Rep. Boehlert stated at the committee meeting that
"Experts from industry, government and academia have told
us that we simply do not have enough people conducting enough
promising research on how to protect our computers and
networks." He added that currently the federal government
spends about $60 Million on cyber security research. He called
this a "pittance". HR 3394 calls for additional
funding of about $800 Million over five years.
The money would go to a variety of research and education
projects. The bill contains new or additional funding for five
National Science Foundation
(NSF) programs. First, it would authorize appropriations of
$233 Million over 5 years to the NSF to make "network
security research grants". Second, it would authorize
$144 Million over 5 years to the NSF to award to universities
"to establish multi disciplinary Centers for Computer and
Network Security Research." These programs would fund
research regarding "authentication and cryptography; ...
computer forensics and intrusion detection; ... reliability of
computer and network applications, middleware, operating
systems, and communications infrastructure; and ...privacy and
The bill would also authorize funding to be administered by
the NSF for training undergraduate university students ($95
Million), community college students ($6 Million), and
doctoral students ($90 Million) in cyber security fields.
The bill also authorizes funding for programs at the National Institute of Standards
and Technology (NIST). One item authorizes $275 Million
for NIST to assist universities that partner with for profit
entities in long term, high risk, cyber security research.
Another item authorizes $32 Million for in house research at
Rep. Eddie Johnson
(D-TX) offered an amendment that she said would "keep in
mind the historical black colleges" and hispanic
colleges. Rep. Boehlert said he shared her concern, and
"we will work cooperatively and do something from the
floor." Rep. Johnson then withdrew her amendment.
Rep. Boehlert stated that he expects the bill to be voted on
by the full house early next year. A companion bill has not
yet been introduced in the Senate.
|NTIA Chief Discusses
|12/6. NTIA chief
Nancy Victory gave a speech
titled "Removing Roadblocks to Broadband Deployment"
at a conference of the Competition Policy Institute in
Washington DC. She stated that "The question is -- what
are the right policies to ensure broadband services develop
and are made available in a manner that best benefits our
country?" However, she did not answer her question.
|SEC Chief Accountant
Addresses Reporting and Disclosure
|12/6. Robert Herdman, Chief Accountant of the SEC gave a speech
in Washington DC to the American Institute of Certified Public
Accountants regarding accounting and financial disclosure. He
stated that "Our existing system of financial reporting
and disclosure was developed back in the 1930s and is showing
its age. During the last 70 years, technology has advanced to
a point where computers and the Internet are a part of our
everyday lives. But relatively few changes have been made to
the Commission's rules regarding what financial information is
disseminated and how it is communicated. As a result, it seems
like no better time exists than now to consider modernizing
the system. So, we will take a fresh look, one that is
no-holds barred in terms of being open to new ideas."
Recommendations on SEC Regulation FD
Commissioner Laura Unger released a report
titled "Special Study: Regulation Fair Disclosure
Revisited". The SEC adopted the controversial Regulation
FD on August 10, 2000. It requires that when an issuer
discloses material information, it must do so publicly.
Unger's report recommends that the SEC should make it easier
for issuers to use technology to satisfy Regulation FD. The
SEC should expand opportunities for issuers to disseminate
information online, such as through web sites, web casts, and
e-mail alerts. She also recommended that the SEC should
provide more guidance on materiality, and that the SEC should
analyze what issuers are saying.
|Senate Committee Holds
Hearing on Anti Terrorism Policies
|12/6. The Senate
Judiciary Committee held another hearing in its ongoing
series of hearings titled "DOJ Oversight: Preserving Our
Freedoms While Defending Against Terrorism." Attorney
General John Ashcroft testified in support of the Bush
administration's anti terrorism policies. He stated in his prepared
testimony that "We have used the provisions allowing
nationwide search warrants for e-mail and subpoenas for
payment information. And we have used the Act to place those
who access the Internet through cable companies on the same
footing as everyone else." See also, opening
statement of Sen.
Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Committee, and opening
statement of Sen. Orrin
Hatch (R-UT), the ranking Republican.
|GAO Reports on E-Commerce
|12/6. The GAO
released a letter
[PDF] to Sen. Max Baucus
(D-MT) and Sen. Charles
Grassley (R-IA) dated November 6, 2001, regarding state
and local revenue loss from Internet sales. The two Senators
asked the GAO to determine whether the Census Bureau's
estimates of e-commerce in 1999 provide a basis for revising
the GAO's 2000 report on sales tax losses from e-commerce. The
GAO concluded that it could not update its 2000 report because
Census Bureau's definition of e-commerce is broader than
Internet sales. See also, GAO report
[PDF] of June 30, 2000, titled "Sales Taxes: Electronic
Commerce Growth Presents Challenges; Revenue Losses Are
|FCC Closes Library to the
|12/6. The FCC released a notice
in which it stated that "Effective December 5, 2001, and
until further notice, the FCC Library will be closed to the
public. This action is necessary because the Commission is
using a portion of the FCC Library to house FCC employees
|12/6. The The U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
heard oral argument in Channel 32 Hispanic v. FCC, No.
12/6. The FBI's National
Infrastructure Protection Center (NIPC) issued an updated
advisory regarding the mass mailing worm called
12/6. The House
Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Commercial and
Administrative Law and Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet,
and Intellectual Property held a joint hearing on the proposed
settlement agreement between NextWave, the FCC, the
DOJ, and the Auction 35 winning bidders. See, prepared
testimony of Jay
Bybee (DOJ), John
Rogovin (FCC), Donald
Verrilli (NextWave), and Stephen
Roberts (Eldorado Communications).
12/6. The NTIA
held the first session of a two day conference regarding its
grant program named "Technology Opportunities
Program", or TOP. See, agenda.
Nancy Victory, head of the NTIA, gave introductory
|Friday, Dec 7
|The House will meet at 9:00 AM for legislative business.
8:30 AM - 12:30 PM. Day two of a two day conference hosted by
regarding its grant program named "Technology
Opportunities Program", or TOP. See, agenda.
The second day will focus on how to write TOP grant
applications. The price to attend is $65. Location:
Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth Street NW.
The Bureau of Export
Administration will host a course titled "How To
Classify My Item". The price to attend is $50. For
more information, contact Douglas Bell at 202 482-2642.
Location: Ronald Reagan International Trade Center.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Wireless
Telecommunications Practice Committee will host a luncheon. Julius
Knapp, Deputy Chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and
Technology will be give an overview of current and future
technologies using unlicensed spectrum, including Bluetooth,
Wi-Fi and other products that could be used in the unlicensed
bands. The price to attend its $15.00. RSVP to Wendy Parish. Location: Sidley Austin Brown & Wood,
1501 K Street, NW Conference Room 6-E.
5:00 PM. Deadline to submit nominations to the FCC to fill
three vacancies on the FCC's Local and State
Government Advisory Committee (LSGAC). See, FCC
|Monday, Dec 10
|9:00 AM. National Telephone Cooperative Association (NTCA)
will host a press breakfast at which it will discuss the
various technologies currently deployed by NTCA members,
including broadband based applications. RSVP to Donna Taylor
at 703 351-2086 or email@example.com.
Location: NTCA Headquarters, Conference Room, 4121 Wilson
Blvd., 10th floor, Arlington, VA.
TIME? There will be a continuation of the hearing begun on
November 27 before the U.S.
District Court (DMD) in In re Microsoft Corp. Antitrust
Litigation, Multi District Litigation No. 1332. This is a
hearing on Settlement
Agreement, which proposes a settlement of the private
antitrust class action lawsuits against Microsoft alleging
that it overpriced its products. Location: U.S. District
Court, Baltimore, MD.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Legislative
Practice Committee will host a discussion of the Congressional
budget process and its influence on spectrum policy. The
speakers will be Jim Hearn (Senate Budget Committee
staff) and David Moore (Congressional
Budget Office). RSVP to Liz Henderson.
Location: Wilmer Cutler &
Pickering, 2400 N St. NW..
1:30 - 3:30 PM. The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) will
host a panel discussion titled "Should the WTO Determine
U.S. Tax Policy?" The speakers will be Michael Finger (AEI),
Gary Hufbauer (Institute for International Economics), Dave
Brumbaugh (Congressional Research Service), John Meagher (PriceWaterhouse
Coopers), Kevin Hassett (AEI). See, online information
and registration page. Location: Wohlstetter Conference
Center, AEI, 1150 17th Street, NW.
|Tuesday, Dec 11
|Day one of a two day conference hosted by the Information
Technology Association of America (ITAA) titled Developing
Cyber Security Solutions in the e-Gov Era. This is an
invitation only event. For information, contact Shannon
Kellogg at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The press contact is email@example.com.
Location: Executive Briefing Center, Computer Sciences
Corporation, 3170 Fairview Park Drive, Falls Church, VA.
11:45 AM - 12:45 PM. Ken Feree, Chief of the FCC's Cable Services Bureau, will
be the luncheon speaker at the Power Line Communications
Conference. Location: Troutman Sanders.
12:15 PM. The Federal
Communications Bar Association's (FCBA) Young Lawyers
Committee will host a brown bag lunch. The speakers will be
Commissioner Michael Copps' Legal Advisors: Jordan Goldstein,
Paul Margie, and Susanna Zwerling. For more information
contact Chris Moore at 202 224-9584 or moorecva @aol.com or Yaron
Dori at 202 637-5458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
3:00 PM. The House
Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Telecommunications
and the Internet will hold a hearing for on the proposed
settlement between the U.S. and Nextwave over spectrum
licenses. Room 2123, Rayburn Building.
|Wednesday, Dec 12
|9:00 AM. - 2:30 PM. The American
Enterprise Institute (AEI) will host a program titled
"Telecommunications Policy as Trade Policy: Negotiations
with Japan over Interconnection Pricing". See, online information and
registration page. See also, agenda, at right. Location:
Wohlstetter Conference Center, AEI, 1150 17th Street, NW.
9:30 AM. The FCC will hold a meeting. The agenda
includes the following: (1) a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM)
initiating a comprehensive examination of the appropriate
regulatory framework for incumbent local exchange carriers' (ILECs')
provision of broadband services; (2) a NPRM to initiate
the FCC's triennial review of the definitions of and rules
concerning access to ILEC unbundled network elements; (3) an
order in regarding the FCC's plans for nationwide thousands
block number pooling (CC Docket No. 96-98 and CC Docket No.
99-200); (4) a second NPRM concerning new equal employment
opportunity rules for broadcast licensees and cable entities;
(5) a Report and Order concerning allocation and service rules
to reallocate television channels 52-59; and (6) a First
Report and Order to provide for new ultra wideband (UWB)
devices (ET Docket No. 98-153). Location: Commission Meeting
Room, FCC, 445 12th Street, SW, Room TWC305.
10:00 AM. The Senate
Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the future of
the Microsoft settlement. Location: Room 226, Dirksen
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