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Hank Johnson on Technology

Democrat

 


Voted NO on protecting cyber security by sharing data with government.

Congressional Summary:

Proponent's Argument for voting Yes:

Opponent's Argument for voting No:
Reference: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act; Bill H.R.624 ; vote number 13-HV117 on Apr 18, 2013

Voted NO on terminating funding for National Public Radio.

    Congressional Summary: To prohibit Federal funding of National Public Radio and the use of Federal funds to acquire radio content, including:
  1. broadcasting, transmitting, and programming over noncommercial educational radio broadcast Corporation for Public Broadcasting was created in 1967. Today, we have multiple listening choices; NPR [has become an] absurd anachronism. It is time to move forward and to let National Public Radio spread its wings and support itself.

    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.

    Reference: Prohibit Federal Funds for NPR; Bill H.1076 ; vote number 11-HV192 on Mar 17, 2011

    Voted YES on delaying digital TV conversion by four months.

    Congressional Summary:Amends the Digital Television Transition and Public Safety Act to delay the transition of television broadcasting from analog to digital to June 13, 2009. Requires the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to extend for a 116-day period the licenses for recovered spectrum, including the construction requirements associated with those licenses.

    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.

    Reference: DTV Delay Act; Bill S.352 ; vote number 2009-H052 on Mar 4, 2009

    Voted NO on retroactive immunity for telecoms' warrantless surveillance.

    Proponents argument for voting YEA: Rep. ETHERIDGE. This bipartisan bill provides the critical tools that our intelligence community needs to ensure the safety of our Nation--to authorize surveillance in the case of an emergency situation, provided that they return to the FISA court within 7 days to apply for a warrant.

    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.

    Reference: FISA Amendments Act; Bill HR6304 ; vote number 2008-437 on Jun 20, 2008

    Voted YES on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.

    Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.

    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.

    Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act; Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495 ; vote number 2007-1040 on Nov 6, 2007

    Close digital divide with high-tech training.

    Johnson adopted the CBC principles:

    Source: Congressional Black Caucus press release 01-CBC9 on Jan 6, 2001

    Popularize Electronic Signatures with ESIGN Day.

    Johnson signed H.CON.RES.290 & S.RES.576

      Now, therefore, be it Resolved that Congress supports the designation of a 'National ESIGN Day';
    1. recognizes the previous contribution made by Congress to the adoption of modern solutions that keep the United States on the leading technological edge; and
    2. reaffirms its commitment to facilitating interstate and foreign commerce in an increasingly digital world.
    Source: National ESIGN Day 10-HR290 on Jun 24, 2010

    Sponsored investing $1 billion in transportation projects.

    Johnson co-sponsored TIGER Grants Act

    Congressional Summary: TIGER Grants for Job Creation Act: Congress finds the following:

    1. The economy is struggling to recover from the recession. The unemployment rate is nearly 8%.
    2. The American Society of Civil Engineers' 2009 Report Card for America's Infrastructure estimated that there is a $549 billion shortfall in investments in roads and bridges and an additional $190 billion shortfall in investments in transit.
    3. TIGER, formally known as the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant program, is a nationwide competitive grant program that creates jobs by funding investments in transportation infrastructure.
    An additional amount for National Infrastructure Investments of $1 billion shall become available, and shall be exempt from any sequestration.

    Opponent's argument against bill:(The Reason Foundation, July 6, 2012):

    The US Constitution authorizes Congress "to regulate Commerce...among the several States." However, the five non-motorized transportation projects, the six transit projects and the six multimodal projects TIGER Grants have funded serve no national need. Some of the port, passenger rai

    Source: H.R.1124 13-H1124 on Mar 13, 2013

    Let NSF decide research grants, not Congress.

    Johnson voted NAY Scientific Research in the National Interest Act

    Congressional Summary: Scientific Research in the National Interest Act: This bill directs the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award federal funding for basic research and education in the sciences only if the grant promotes the progress of science in the United States, is worthy of federal funding, and is in the national interest.

    Support on GovTrack.us: Lead sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX-21)--chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee--noted the millions of dollars the NSF has doled out for purposes he considers less than worthwhile. In particular, he cited a few examples he considered particularly egregious, including:

    Opposition on GovTrack.us: The Science Committee's ranking member, Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX-30) called the bill anti-science. She wrote, "Most Members of Congress lack the relevant expertise to fairly evaluate the merits of any particular grant. If we do not trust the Nation's scientific experts to make that judgement, then who are we to trust?" Johnson also noted that the NSF already has a rigorous review process, only funding about 1/5 of grant proposals.

    White House Opposition: Contrary to its stated purpose, [HR.3293] would add nothing to accountability in Federal funding for scientific research, while needlessly adding to bureaucratic burdens and overhead at the NSF. It would replace the clarity of the [current rules implemented in] 1950, with confusing language that could cast a shadow over the value of basic research.

    Legislative outcome: Passed House 236-178-26 (roll call 70, CR H684) on 2/11/16; bill died in Senate committee. The White House had threatened to veto the bill if it passed the Senate.

    Source: Congressional vote 16-HR3293 on Jul 29, 2015

    Sponsored bill for net neutrality for open internet.

    Johnson voted YEA Save the Internet Act

    Summary by Vox.com: The US House of Representatives just†passed a bill to bring Obama-era net neutrality rules back to the internet. This time, they want to make these regulations law so the Federal Communications Commission canít overturn them easily. President Trump has said he will veto the bill should it make it to his desk. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the bill "dead on arrival in the Senate".

    Statement in support by Rep. Jim Costa (D-CA-16): "The internet has a profound impact on America's economy and the social fabric of our nation. It is an important tool to connect individuals to each other and businesses with consumers, said Costa. "Ensuring a free and open internet, with equal access to all, is essential if we are to preserve the American dream."

    Statement in opposition by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC-8): "If this legislation became law, the Internet would be slower, more expensive, less free and controlled by Washington," said Rep. Hudson. "This would hurt our rural communities the most. I'll continue to work to keep the Internet free from government intervention and open."

    Statement in opposition by Rep. Don Bacon (R-NC-8): "Previous regulations led to additional expenses for 80% of providers in rural areas leading to delayed or reduced network expansion and services," said Rep. Bacon. "This bill would also lay the groundwork for the government for eventually taxing the internet." The internet is now operating under the same regulations that governed, and facilitated its expansive growth, from the mid 1990's until 2015. Some Democrats predicted that the return of those regulations would lead to limited access of the internet. None of those scenarios came true.

    Legislative outcome: Bill passed House 232-190-10 on April 10, 2019, rollcall #167. [The 116th Congress terminated with no Senate action on this bill].

    Source: Congressional vote 19-HR1644 on Mar 8, 2019

    Create online database of science & math scholarships.

    Johnson co-sponsored creating online database of science & math scholarships

    Directs the Secretary of Education to establish and maintain, on the public website of the Department of Education, a database of information on public and private programs of financial assistance for the study of postsecondary and graduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

      Requires that such database:
    1. provide separate information for each field of study;
    2. be searchable by category and combinations of categories;
    3. indicate programs targeted toward specific demographic groups;
    4. provide searchers with program sponsor contact information and hyperlinks; and
    5. include a recommendation that students and families carefully review application requirements and a disclaimer that scholarships presented in the database are not provided or endorsed by the Department or the federal government.
    Requires the Secretary and the entity contracted to furnish and regularly update information to consult with public and private sources of scholarships and make easily available a process for the sources to provide regular and updated information.
    Source: National STEM Scholarship Database Act (S.2428/H.R.1051) 2007-S2428 on Dec 6, 2007

    2021-22 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Technology: Hank Johnson on other issues:
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    Page last updated: Jan 30, 2022