Congress at Work: Strengthening the Supply Chain, the Professional Workforce, Cybersecurity and Coastal Ecosystems
The Congress at Work series of articles is designed to give you a glimpse of various types of legislation currently under consideration. While either the Senate or the House of Representatives may initiate a bill proposal, be aware that many bills never become law; they may never make it out of committee, be blocked by a Senate filibuster, delayed, lack enough votes, never be agreed upon by the two houses, or vetoed by the president.
Supply Chain Security Training Act of 2021 (S 2201
This legislation is designed to identify supply chain risks and develop a government program to train federal officials with supply chain risk management responsibilities to prepare and mitigate those risks. The training program would cover the complete acquisition life cycle, including funding for data access and processing as well as appropriate technology and communication vehicles. The bill was introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on June 23, 2021. It passed in the Senate on Jan. 11 and in the House on May 10. It was signed into law by the president on June 16.
Bridging the Gap for New Americans Act (S 3157)
Introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MI) on Nov. 3, 2021, this bill recently passed in the Senate on June 23 and is in the House for consideration. The bipartisan bill would authorize a study on employment opportunities for naturalized and lawfully present non-U.S. citizens who hold professional credentials from non-U.S. countries. For example, the opportunity to employ doctors with medical degrees to help meet U.S. demand in the growing shortage of physicians. The Department of Labor would identify and recommend how to address factors that affect their qualifications for U.S. jobs in various fields of expertise.
State and Local Government Cybersecurity Act of 2021 (S 2520)
This legislation expands the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsibilities for mitigating cybersecurity threats, risks and vulnerabilities with more proactive and defensive measures. The Act was introduced by Sen. Gary Peters (D-MI) on July 28, 2021. It passed in the Senate on Jan. 11 and in the House on May 17. It was signed into law on June 21.
South Florida Clean Coastal Waters Act of 2021 (S 66)
An algal bloom is a rapidly growing algae that can produce toxic conditions harmful to humans, animals, aquatic ecosystems and the economy. They are most prevalent in South Florida. The bill, introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) on Jan. 27, 2021, directs the Inter-Agency Task Force on Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia to develop a plan to address how to reduce and control the effects of the blooms throughout the South Florida ecosystem. This legislation passed in the Senate on March 8 and in the House on May 11. President Biden signed the bill into law on June 16.
Active Shooter Alert Act of 2022 (HR 6538)
Introduced by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) on Feb. 1, this bill would direct the Department of Justice to set up a national alarm system specifically to warn citizens of an active shooter event. The DOJ also would work with state, tribal and local governments to coordinate networks and establish procedures for how to respond to active shooters. The bill passed in the House on July 13. It is presently under consideration in the Senate, where it faces opposition because many believe it duplicates the existing Integrated Public Alert and Warning System (IPAWS). The premise is that a separate system for active shooter events would risk desensitizing citizens with false alarms.
Advanced Air Mobility Coordination and Leadership Act (S 516)
This bill was introduced by Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS) on March 11, 2021. It passed in the Senate on March 23, 2022, and in the House on June 14, but the House made changes and returned it to the Senate. The purpose of this legislation is to establish an Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) interagency task force to plan and coordinate efforts for urban-based cargo and passenger aircraft (e.g., drones, air taxis, air ambulances) in the United States. The program would address matters related to safety, infrastructure, physical security, cybersecurity and federal investment in order to integrate these new aircraft into existing airspace operations.
Women’s Health Protection Act of 2022 (HR 8296)
Introduced by Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) on July 7, this bill passed the House on July 15 and is currently with the Senate. The bill would prohibit state governments from restricting access to abortion services (via drug prescription, telemedicine or immediate action) in situations where the provider determines that birth would endanger the mother’s life.