The increased funding would be distributed across research programs, industrial services programs, and facilities construction and maintenance.
USICA does not include a funding recommendation or extensive policy direction for NIST. It does, though, address some agencies unmentioned in the House bill, incorporating a sweeping policy update for NASA and recommending that Congress immediately double the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s budget, which would amount to an additional $17.5 billion over five years.
The COMPETES Act and USICA would both establish a grant program within the Commerce Department for funding consortia of state and local governments, universities, businesses, and other entities to develop and implement regional innovation strategies.
America competes act 2022 cryptocurrency
A piece of legislation aimed at addressing supply chain issues to keep the U.S. economy and businesses competitive has passed the House of Representatives — without a provision many in the crypto space had criticized for giving the Treasury Secretary authority to shut down exchanges.
In a 222-210 vote on Friday, the House of Representatives passed the America COMPETES Act mostly along party lines. The provision originally proposed by Connecticut Representative Jim Himes would seemingly have allowed the Treasury Secretary to have fewer limits on surveilling financial institutions with suspected transactions connected to money laundering and not open the matter to include public feedback.
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USICA includes no analogous immigration provisions, and recent attempts to pass immigration legislation have generally become deadlocked within efforts to enact comprehensive policy reforms.
Bipartisan support needed to pass finalized bill
While Democratic committee leaders have emphasized the number of bipartisan ideas included in the COMPETES Act, House Republicans immediately protested that they were not consulted about many provisions. Some of the more controversial points are tangential to the bill’s innovation policy elements, such as a number of its trade provisions and its minimum-wage requirements for construction projects.
In a statement, Republicans on the Science Committee complained the broader package is filled with “poison pills” that undermine the bipartisan work on its portions.
Secretary would be able to (a) impose measures against financial institutions through any process (even a phone call from a deputized prosecutor would likely suffice given these non-existent procedural safeguards), to (b) avoid any public notice and comment process to alert the public to measures and solicit feedback, and (c) make these measures apply into perpetuity even if they haven’t been made through regulation.
In addition to gutting all administrative processes for the imposition of special measures, the America COMPETES Act would also add a new species of special measure: “Prohibitions or Conditions on Certain Transmittals of Funds.” The Secretary already has the ability to prohibit financial institutions from maintaining accounts (and logically cryptocurrency accounts) for customers under special measures five, but this sixth new type of “special measure” goes much further.
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This newly-inducted form would strip these considerations and give the Secretary the ability to impose regulation without public notice.
Essentially, America Competes Act ensures the Treasury Secretary’s extreme power over domestic customer activities, bequeathing surveillance permissions and prohibitive measures without public discourse or administrative process to back decisions up. It will also expand said “special measures,” allotting the Secretary unlimited purveyance over transactions that can be screened as “transmittal of funds.”
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So long as any transaction is faced with the potential of money laundering or another nefarious transactional endeavor, the Secretary of the Treasury can hold full reign over the affair.
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Congress and Congress alone is empowered by our constitution to make law; handing unelected officials at Treasury an ambiguous power to decide that certain customer activities at banks and other financial institutions can be blocked one day and not blocked the next is unconstitutional, unfair, and exactly what you would expect from a totalitarian regime, not from a well-functioning democracy.
We previously worked to successfully exclude a version of this provision sponsored by Rep. Jim Himes from the National Defense Authorization Act, which passed late last year, and we thought its anti-democratic deficiencies were now clear to folks in Congress. Unfortunately, it’s back essentially unmodified and now snuck into a high-priority bipartisan bill with a good chance of passing both houses of Congress.
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Research security. Both bills include a suite of provisions aimed at preventing foreign governments from exploiting the U.S. research system. For instance, USICA would bar federal grantees from participating in any talent recruitment program supported by China, Russia, Iran, or North Korea, whereas the COMPETES Act limits the ban to programs with “malign” intent. Both bills would also lower the threshold on the value of foreign gifts and contracts that universities are required to disclose and would create a new reporting requirement for foreign funds received by individual faculty, though the COMPETES Act sets higher thresholds.
Investment reviews. USICA proposes to establish a process through the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.
For example, if the Secretary of the Treasury deems that either (a) the Netherlands, (b) a Dutch crypto exchange, (c) all cryptocurrency transactions validated by a miner outside of the US, or (d) all non-custodial wallets are “of primary money laundering concern,” then she can swiftly make it illegal for any US financial institution (regulated cryptocurrency exchanges included) from maintaining accounts for customers involving those “concerns.” The law already lacks robust due process (for effected customers, especially, there’s no clear way to challenge these designations in the Bank Secrecy Act), but at least in its current form it requires a public notice and an opportunity for public comment in advance of the measure taking effect (in the case of special measure five prohibitions), or within 120 days (in the case of the heightened surveillance measures under measures 1-4).
For starters, the new language viewed within this document would allow the Treasury Department almost free reign over cryptocurrency networks, disallowing certain consumers the ability even to access exchanges, as well as other various financial institutions. These so-called unchecked discretionary allowances may not, however, be utilized in such a way by the Secretary, yet their very existence opens a nasty doorway to potential calamity for crypto enthusiasts.
Sure, the provision may on the surface appear as a combatant to China’s ever-growing foothold in technological innovation, but at what cost does the B.S.A.’s new parameters serve for domestic crypto holders? The Bank Secrecy Act holds within it five “special measures,” the first four of which gives the Treasury almost unlimited access to data filed by the everyday consumer.
There is absolutely no need to increase the scope of the treasury’s authority here. Like the unnecessary redefinition of “broker” in the infrastructure bill last summer, the parts of this language aimed at cryptocurrencies are entirely unnecessary while the removal of procedures and the creation of unlimited administrative discretion is deeply consequential. In other words it is an attempt (deliberate or not) to use the moral panic surrounding criminal usage of cryptocurrencies (as evidenced by the provision’s findings) to strip our surveillance laws of all public processes.
Even if you don’t particularly care about cryptocurrencies, this encroachment on basic privacy rights must be opposed.