Rush Begins 114th Congress with Strong Legislative Agenda
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) heads into the 114th Congress offering a strong legislative agenda to address international affairs, consumer data security and online safety, small business funding and college sports.
Rush intends to reintroduce four key legislative bills as a benchmark to the new session. Rush’s comprehensive legislative agenda consist of:
Rush, who initially introduced the United States-Cuba Trade Normalization Act in 2009, has been a longtime advocate of improving our country’s economic relationship with Cuba. To achieve this aim, Rush’s legislation lifts the embargo, travel and parcel restrictions, normalizes trade relations and removes Cuba from the State Department’s State Sponsors of Terrorism list.
Rush’s legislation also provides Congress a vehicle to take part in the important discussions surrounding President Obama’s announcement that the United States will restore diplomatic relations with Cuba.
Rush re-introduced the Data Accountability and Trust Act (DATA.), which is cosponsored by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas). A substantially similar bill was first introduced in the 110th Congress, and passed the full House in the 111th Congress but was not moved upon by the Senate.
DATA requires commercial entities that own or possess any personal information of consumers to implement effective information security policies and procedures to safeguard that information. Additional provisions in the law would require these entities to notify individual consumers, as well as the Federal Trade Commission, following consumer data breaches and when personal information is accessed or acquired by unauthorized persons.
Personal information is defined as an individual’s first name or initial and last name, address or phone number in combination with (i) a social security number; (ii) driver’s license, passport, or military ID number or similar government document number; or (iii) a financial account number, or credit or debit card number, and any required security or access code or password for an individual’s financial account.
Recent, massive data breaches and cybercriminal attacks on firms and commercial networks and databases have enormously impacted consumers, consumer confidence and the economy. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who chairs the Committee, recently announced that there would be a series of hearings throughout the coming year to examine these numerous and increasing threats. The House Energy & Commerce Committee — of which Rep. Rush is a senior member — is the House committee with primary jurisdiction over interstate commerce, consumer protection and trade matters.
The Energy and Commerce Committee is also primarily responsible for authorizing and overseeing the activities of the Federal Trade Commission. Under DATA, the Commission would be authorized to adopt regulations that spell out appropriate information security policies and procedures and to take enforcement actions and assess civil penalties up to $5 million for violations of either the law’s information security policy and procedure or its breach notification requirements, along with state attorneys general against violators under the law.
For several years, Rep. Rush has hosted a number of events that bring public and private sector experts and decision-makers together to discuss data privacy and security best practices and policy, legislative and technological prescriptions and solutions. On February 6, 2015, Rep. Rush will host a briefing on Capitol Hill to discuss some of these important topics. This event is designed in part to coincide with Data Privacy Day, which is observed globally on January 28th.
Rep. Rush also reintroduced the Minority Small Business Enhancement Act of 2015. This bill seeks to amend the Small Business Act in a number of ways to increase opportunities, economic activity and financial participation for minority business and small business communities in general across the country. These changes include: (i) Raising the Personal Net Worth (PNW) limit to as much as $1.5 million to meet inflation and current economic norms for personal wealth; (ii) Eliminate the 9-year limit for businesses to participate in the program, a provision that will allow firms to complete for federal contract before losing assistance from the program; (iii) Increases the government-wide small business procurement contract goal from 23 percent to 25 percent; (iv) Increases from 5 percent to 10 percent the government-wide procurement goal for small, disadvantaged businesses and women-owned businesses; (v) Prohibits contracting officers from coding a minority business in any more than one other minority category; (vi) Authorizing the Director of the MBDA to provide loan guarantees to qualified minority businesses up to $450,000. Finally, this bill requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a contracting disparity study and to report its findings back to Congress.
An increasing number of debates and disagreements over the role of intercollegiate athletics and their relationship to academic integrity and financial stability for collegiate athletes prompted Rush to introduce legislation to examine these issues more fully.
As part of his legislative rollout, Rush is introducing legislation to establish the Presidential Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. The Commission would examine national concerns and issues relating to how intercollegiate athletics programs are being conducted and recommend ways and actions to resolve identified problems.
All of these bills will promote the growth and development of America and the American people. Rush continues to push for comprehensive legislation that positively impacts the lives the 1st Congressional District of Illinois and takes a bipartisan approach toward his work in Congress.