The House Energy and Commerce Committee was still in the process late Monday of marking up its portion of the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill working its way through the House, but at our deadline was making a big splash with $10 billion of proposed funding for supply chain security.

The E&C committee’s portion of the legislation features billions of proposed spending for supply chains, distance learning, and more.

While the committee’s markup process was slow-moving as of Monday afternoon, the panel’s legislative prints contain $10 billion for supply chain resilience, additional funding for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Plan, and funding for a Future of Telecommunications Council.

“We will make investments in public safety, broadband, manufacturing, and privacy,” Committee Chair Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., said in his opening statement today. “The Build Back Better Act is transformational legislation that invests in the American people, responds to the challenges of our time, and builds back a better future for generations to come.”

Supply Chain Resilience

Among the Energy and Commerce committee’s prints is $10 billion to support “the resilience, diversity, security, and strength of critical manufacturing supply chains affecting interstate commerce.”

The resiliency of supply chains came under increased scrutiny amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, and this legislation would look to bolster them by directing the Secretary of Commerce to give grants and other financial assistance to help shore up critical manufacturing supply chains.

The bill’s funding would be able to used for critical supply chain mapping and monitoring; “facilitating and establishing voluntary standards, guidelines, and best practices to reduce risks to the resiliency, diversity, security, and strength of critical manufacturing supply chains;” and “identifying, accelerating, promoting, and demonstrating technological advances for critical manufacturing supply chains.”

If passed, the bill would also give the Secretary of Commerce the ability to provide grants and other financial assistance to support the resiliency of critical manufacturing supply chains.

More Funding for the EBB

The bill also includes another $4 billion for the Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, established by the American Rescue Plan in March.

The Senate-passed Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act proposes changes to the program, including cutting broadband plan prices and changing the name to the Affordable Connectivity Benefit Program. This House E&C legislative print would then add funding to the program’s coffers.

Other Funding

The House E&C legislative prints also include $10 billion for the deployment of a next-generation 9-1-1 system, another $80 million for a next-generation 9-1-1 cybersecurity center, and $10 million for a 6G advisory council.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) would be responsible for providing entities grants to make the upgrade from current 9-1-1 systems to next-generation 9-1-1 systems. The Next Generation 9-1-1 Cybersecurity Center would be responsible for coordinating across state, local, and regional governments to “share cybersecurity information, analyze cybersecurity threats, and share guidelines and best practices for intrusion detection and prevention as it relates to Next Generation 9-1-1,” according to a summary of the committee’s prints.

The 6G advisory council – titled the “Future of Telecommunications Council” by the legislation – would advise Congress on the development and adaption of 6G and other advanced wireless communications tech.

As of late Monday, the committee was still marking up its first of 16 subtitles, working its way through the amendment process for the committee’s title related to air pollution.

 

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Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson
Lamar Johnson is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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