Agenda: 1/14/18

By S-3 Public Affairs

FACT OF THE WEEK:

CNBC reports that as the value of bitcoin has made headlines, the demand for employees with these skills has also increased. “As the cryptocurrency universe grows, businesses are on the hunt for job candidates with experience in blockchain, the technology that supports popular digital tokens such as bitcoin and ethereum. Upwork, a freelancing firm, says blockchain is its fastest-growing skill category. … LinkedIn says there are now 28 times as many people citing cryptocurrency skills on their profiles and 5.5 times as many people with bitcoin skills as there were in October 2013. And from 2014 to 2017, LinkedIn has seen a 9.4-time increase in bitcoin-related postings within the financial services and insurance industry sector, as well as a 4.6-time increase for the software technology industry.”

CHASER: The Harvard Crimson notes that some economists see government interference or potential overregulation as a threat to the value of bitcoin. “Some Harvard Economics professors say the current high valuation of bitcoin—the founding coin of the international virtual currency boom—is unsustainable and will eventually drop, thanks in part to government regulation.”

BONUS FACT: United Launch Alliance this week had its first launch of 2018, “the 124th successful launch since the company was formed in December 2006. It was also the 36th flight of the Delta IV rocket since its inaugural launch in 2002.”

CONTINUE READING

IN THE MEDIA

Bloomberg reports on the Virtual Reality trend that emerged from the Consumer Electronics Show. In addition to being “cheaper, lighter and less likely to require tethering to a smartphone or computer,” Bloomberg notes, “It also gives companies something to sell while they figure out augmented reality, widely believed to have more mass-market appeal than virtual reality.” What’s the difference? “VR isolates users while AR lays digital information over the real world, offering countless potential consumer and commercial applications—streaming basketball stats to fans during games, say, or sending instructions to mechanics repairing complicated equipment.

Recode adds a note about Facebook’s contribution to the potential VR trend.“Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants to get one billion people using virtual realitya lofty goal considering there were just one million VR headsets shipped across the entire industry in last year’s third quarter.” The means to achieving this: “A new standalone VR headset exclusively for the Chinese market.”

IN THE ADMINISTRATION

President Trump is expected to travel to Pennsylvania next Thursday and discuss tax reform, ahead of a special election being held in March for a House of Representatives seat. Politico reports, “Trump’s visit to the district next week will take him to a manufacturing plant outside Pittsburgh.”

ON THE HILL

Congress returns this week with all eyes on a Friday government-funding deadline. Also on the Hill this week:  

Monday (January 15): Martin Luther King Jr. Day;

Tuesday (January 16): Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Department of Homeland Security, with testimony from Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing to examine the domestic and global energy outlook, with testimony from International Energy Agency Executive Director Dr. Fatih Birol; House Natural Resources Committee markup of 9 bills and subcommittee legislative hearing on the Jobs for Tribes Act; House Rules Committee hearing on the Home Mortgage Disclosure Adjustment Act, World Bank Accountability Act, and Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee field hearing on the Obama administration’s rapprochement with the Castro regime;

Wednesday (January 17): Senate Commerce Committee hearing on terrorism and social media, with testimony from Facebook Head of Global Policy Management Monika Bickert, YouTube Global Head of Public Policy and Government Relations Juniper Downs; Twitter Public Policy and Philanthropy Director Carlos Monje, and Foreign Policy Research Institute Fellow Clinton Watts; Senate Finance Committee hearing on the nominations of Dennis Shea to be the deputy U.S. trade representative in the Geneva office and C.J. Mahoney to be the deputy U.S. trade representative for investment, services, labor, environment, Africa, China, and the Western hemisphere; Senate Banking Committee executive session to vote on the nominations of Jerome H. Powell (to be chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve), Randal Quarles (to be a member of the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors), Brian Montgomery (to be assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Federal Housing Commissioner), Robert Hunter Kurtz (to be assistant secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development for Public and Indian Housing), and David Ryder (to be director of the U.S. Mint) and hearing on combating money laundering and other forms of illicit finance, with testimony from Treasury Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Crimes Sigal Mandelker and Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division M. Kendall Day; Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on the nominations of Michael Atkinson to be the inspector general of the intelligence community and Jason Klitenic to be general counsel of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; Senate HELP Committee hearing on facing 21st century public health threats; Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on the unintended consequences of Medicaid and the opioid epidemic; Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on America’s water infrastructure needs and challenges; Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing to receive a progress report on the implementation of 2017 VA reform legislation; Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee hearing to examine the Bureau of Reclamation’s title transfer process and potential benefits to federal and non-federal stakeholders; House Financial Services Committee markupof 17 bills to amend the Dodd-Frank Act; House Judiciary Committee markupof the Disclosing Foreign Influence Act; House Ways and Means Subcommittee hearing on the opioid crisis and CMS actions to prevent opioid misuse; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee markup and vote on the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act, Pharmaceutical Information Exchange Act, and Over-the-Counter Monograph Safety, Innovation, and Reform Act; House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on the state of the U.S. flag maritime industry; House Science, Space & Technology Subcommittee hearing to receive an update on NASA commercial crew systems development; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearing on the current state of the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) program; House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee hearing on recent efforts to win the war against ISIS; House Veterans’ Affairs Committee hearing on the Denver Replacement Medical Center;

Thursday (January 18): Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committeehearing on the nominations of Melissa Burnison to be an assistant secretary of Energy for congressional and intergovernmental affairs and Anne Marie White to be an assistant secretary of Energy for environmental management; Senate Banking Committee hearing on CFIUS reform; Senate Commerce Committee executive session to vote on 7 nominations, including Ann Marie Buerkle to be chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Jim Bridenstine to be NASA administrator; Senate HELP Committee hearing on reauthorizing the Higher Education Act; Senate Judiciary Subcommittee hearing on the long-term care needs of first responders injured in the line of duty; House Rules Committee hearing on Article I: effective oversight and the power of the purse; House Natural Resources Committee oversight hearingexamining the Interior Department’s actions to eliminate onshore energy burdens; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings on the Internet of Things, manufacturing and innovation and modernizing the Superfund cleanup programHouse Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee hearing on America’s water resources infrastructure; House Homeland Security Subcommittee hearings on the capabilities of federal law enforcement agencies to share information related to transnational gangs and innovation at TSA;

Friday (January 19): Next government funding deadline; House Natural Resources Subcommittee oversight hearing examining deficiencies in the permitting process for offshore seismic research; House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee hearings on legislation addressing LNG exports and PURPA modernization and continuing concerns over the Food and Drug Administration’s food-recall process.