Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee, along with Congressman Peter Welch (D-VA), Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Ranking Member Anna Eshoo (D-CA) today released H.R. 5161, the E-LABEL Act. This legislation would allow electronics manufacturers to display the required Federal Communications Commission (FCC) label of approval electronically instead of physically on the device or product.
“We are in the midst of an innovation era where new, ground-breaking technologies and devices are introduced into the information and communications technology marketplace almost daily,” said Latta. “The bipartisan E-LABEL Act that I introduced along with my colleagues, Congressman Welch, Congresswoman Blackburn and Ranking Member Eshoo, will facilitate continued innovation by modernizing the device approval process. This will save tens of millions of dollars for device manufacturers and will provide increased flexibility to compete and create next-generation technologies that consumers demand.”
Senator Fischer (R-NE) and Chairman Rockefeller (D-WV) have also introduced S. 2583, companion legislation to the E-LABEL Act, in the Senate.
The productivity and growth of rural America are essential to the overall economic well-being and prosperity of our country. These regions are critical to our sustainability and should not be neglected when considering policies that promote job creation, investment and innovation. While Ohio’s 5th District boasts more than 60,000 manufacturing jobs, it is also the largest agricultural district in the state. Ensuring our rural areas are accounted for, especially when examining ways to tap our country’s technological potential, must be a top priority.
Maintaining an open, free and accessible Internet is currently at the forefront of policy discussions facing Congress. Over the past 20 years, the Internet has become a platform for job creation, education, job skills training, business development and health care. It has also enabled us to achieve efficiencies in agriculture, energy, transportation, manufacturing and many other sectors of the economy. Expanding access to the Internet, not deterring it, is critical to this continued advancement and growth.
Unfortunately, there are efforts to do just the opposite. The Federal Communications Commission’s proposed regulations on broadband Internet access would impose costly government mandates that were designed for the monopoly telephone system of the 1930s — long before the Internet ever existed. If adopted, these regulations will obstruct ongoing efforts to spread broadband access to rural communities and deepen the economic divide between rural and non-rural areas.
To guard against this potential bureaucratic interference and preserve the critical technological gains we’ve made in rural America, I recently introduced legislation to keep the Internet open to consumers, businesses and entrepreneurs, and free from government regulation. By doing so, broadband service providers will continue to be incentivized to invest in rural America and deploy infrastructure to these hard-to-reach areas that support the innovative applications and services that make so many efficiencies and conveniences possible today.
Since its infancy, broadband service has remained relatively free from government control and Americans, rural and non-rural, have enjoyed open access to the Internet. As a result, Internet providers have made more than $1 trillion in investments in broadband infrastructure since 1996, helping to support almost 11 million jobs.
While broadband availability in rural areas still lags behind non-rural areas, gains continue to be made, as more than three-fourths of all rural areas in America have access to robust broadband service and more than 80 percent of rural residents have access to some of the nation’s fastest broadband download speeds. The number of Americans without any access to broadband service also continues to decline. In the past 13 years, home broadband adoption has grown from 3 percent of all American adults age 18 and older to 70 percent. It took the telephone 76 years to reach this level of penetration, and we can only expect these unprecedented trends to continue as long as the Internet remains unfettered by government regulation.
At a time when the Internet is a thriving job creation engine that is driving productivity and economic growth it is reckless to suggest, let alone adopt, policies that would disrupt its success. The FCC’s proposed regulations would divert precious resources from broadband deployment and network upgrades to regulatory compliance, likely delaying the availability of broadband and all the innovative applications and services it brings with it to rural America. This is something that Americans simply cannot afford. Now more than ever, the economic success of rural America depends on continued investment into robust broadband networks, and keeping the Internet free and open is critical to the United States’ ability to remain the leader in the 21st century global digital economy.
The U.S. House of Representatives today passed H.R. 4572, the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA), which included a provision authored by Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), Vice Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee, and Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) to eliminate the current set-top box integration ban. STELA’s passage will ensure more than one million satellite television subscribers do not lose access to programming at the end of this year when the current authorization is set to expire.
“Our priority in reauthorizing STELA has always been to ensure a continuity of service for satellite subscribers,” said Latta. “However, it also represents a critical step forward in modernizing our communications laws to reflect today’s dynamic and competitive communications marketplace.
“I am especially pleased that the legislation included a provision I sponsored to eliminate the integration ban. Repealing this outdated technological mandate will foster greater investment and innovation in the set-top box market, and more importantly, will help decrease the cost of video delivery to consumers.
“STELA underscores a bipartisan commitment to ensuring that our communications laws maximize the potential for investment, innovation and consumer choice, and I commend Chairmen Upton and Chairman Walden for their leadership in this effort.
To view the Congressman’s remarks in support of STELA on the House Floor, watch the video below:Read More
Earlier this year, Veterans Administration hospitals were accused of covering up how long their patients wait for care by keeping a secret waiting list designed to hide problems.
Now Veterans Administration hospitals are being accused of a cover up that's less potentially lethal: hiding religious symbols, like crucifixes, in their chapels as a way to achieve religious neutrality.
Just as the earlier coverup provoked congressional inquiries, the religious symbol coverup has prompted Bowling Green Republican Rep. Bob Latta to inquire about VA policies on religious neutrality and religious freedom.
After reports that a VA hospital chapel in Michigan put curtains around its Christian religious icons to comply with a nationwide policy that requires chapels in VA medical centers to remain "religiously neutral, reflecting no particular faith tradition" when not in use for services, Latta and 22 of his colleagues sent Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson a letter seeking an explanation.
"We have recently received reports that there are renewed efforts underway to certify compliance with this 'religious neutrality' policy in VA chapels," Latta's letter says. "In light of this development, we write today to inquire about the origin and implementation of this policy."
The letter asks when the VA first put the policy in its handbook, whether it has developed and publicized uniform public standards on "what constitutes religious neutrality in its medical center chapels," and how the presence of religious symbols or furnishings infringe on those who don't identify with the symbols in question.
"Many individuals use our VA chapels for meditation and worship and as a place to go when in search of solace and comfort," said a statement issued by Latta. "They should unquestionably remain open and accessible to all religious beliefs and faith, and patrons should be able to attend without discrimination. Our letter urges the VA to take the necessary steps to ensure its medical center chapels are open and accommodating to all those seeking to exercise their religious freedoms."
The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center has no permanent religious symbols in its nondenominational chapel that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so it hasn't covered up anything to comply with the policy, a VA spokeswoman said.
VA spokeswoman Melanie Fisher says the Cleveland VA medical center has chapel staff on call around the clock "to provide spiritual care to all Veterans and their families," as well as spiritual care providers of "faith traditions not represented by medical center chaplain staff" who are available when needed.
"To date, we have not received any complaints regarding the practices of our chapel," said Fisher.
Latta's office says it has not received complaints of religious symbols being covered in Ohio veterans facilities, and Sloan has not yet replied to Latta's July 11 letter.
Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) today joined his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in passing legislation to increase charitable giving for the benefit of individuals in need across the country. The bipartisan proposals included in H.R. 4719, the America Gives More Act, would make permanent and improve a variety of tax rules governing charitable donations and charitable organizations.
“By making these provisions permanent, the America Gives More Act will provide Americans a greater ability to donate to worthwhile causes, while also enabling charities to more effectively serve those in need,” said Latta.
House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH), House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Anna G. Eshoo (D-CA) and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA) today introduced the Wi-Fi Innovation Act, legislation that addresses growing spectrum demand by examining ways to improve spectrum efficiency and maximize its use.
“Demand for wireless spectrum is growing rapidly as smartphone and tablet users increasingly use Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet,” said Latta. “To accommodate this demand and support future mobile development and innovation, we must utilize spectrum more efficiently. The Wi-Fi Innovation Act paves a pathway to maximize the use of spectrum and examine ways to expand the deployment of wireless networks and services across the country, so all can benefit from this next-generation technology.”
“From personal communication to transportation, healthcare and beyond, wireless technologies are changing and improving our lives,” said Issa. “The Wi-Fi Innovation Act will make available the spectrum necessary to support the best new inventions and the jobs and prosperity these new discoveries will foster. I applaud the bipartisan work between my House colleagues Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Congresswoman Doris Matsui (D-CA). Additionally, I am pleased to work in cooperation with both Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) for their efforts to push a companion bill through the Senate.”
“For three decades unlicensed spectrum has been the invisible backbone to myriad wireless technologies, ranging from Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to garage doors and cordless phones. But in order to unlock the next generation of wireless technology we need to optimize our finite amount of available spectrum,” said Eshoo. “Last year, 57 percent of America’s mobile data traffic was offloaded onto Wi-Fi networks supported by unlicensed spectrum. It’s also estimated that unlicensed spectrum accounted for more than $200 billion of the U.S. economy in 2013, including $36 billion in savings to consumers. The bipartisan, bicameral Wi-Fi Innovation Act directs the FCC to determine the extent to which unlicensed spectrum can be shared and utilized in increasingly innovative ways to benefit consumers and our economy. It’s this kind of forward-thinking that will produce enormous economic benefits and could yield untold technological discovery.”
“Wi-Fi is already an integral part of our everyday lives; we must meet current demand and put in place a plan to meet growing needs,” continued Matsui. “The Wi-Fi Innovation Act will require the FCC to develop and adopt a testing process to evaluate the feasibility of sharing in the 5GHz band. It is my hope that the FCC will use this opportunity to produce hard data that can be relied upon during decision-making on the future of the 5GHz band. It is our responsibility to ensure that the U.S. continues to be the center for technology and innovation, and spectrum will be necessary to achieve this.”
The Wi-Fi Innovation Act directs the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to conduct tests within the 5 GHz spectrum band to determine if spectrum can be shared without interfering with current users. The bill also acknowledges ongoing efforts related to the development of critical safety applications in vehicles and other intelligent transportation initiatives and creates a study to examine the barriers to Wi-Fi deployment in low-income areas.
This legislation builds on Latta, Issa, Eshoo and Matsui’s leadership in unleashing more unlicensed spectrum for consumers and innovators. Last year, the four members led a letter to then Acting FCC Chairwoman Mignon Clyburn urging the agency to make additional spectrum available for unlicensed use in the 5GHz band.
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Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) recently led a letter, which included 22 of his U.S House of Representatives colleagues, to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson following reports that permanent religious symbols were covered in VA medical center chapels when they were not in use.
“Many individuals use our VA chapels for meditation and worship and as a place to go when in search of solace and comfort,” said Latta. “They should unquestionably remain open and accessible to all religious beliefs and faiths, and patrons should be able to attend without discrimination. Our letter urges the VA to take the necessary steps to ensure its medical center chapels are open and accommodating to all those seeking to exercise their religious freedoms.”
The letter asks the VA to provide clarification about the origin and implementation of religious neutrality policies within its chapels, as well as what is being done to safeguard religious freedom. To view a copy of the letter, click here.
Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) will be available for one-on-one meetings with constituents at the Wood County Courthouse Atrium, located at One Courthouse Square in Bowling Green, on Friday. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., residents can meet individually with Congressman Latta and discuss the issues that are most important to them and their families. Staff will also be available to assist with casework or help residents with any issues they may have with the federal government.
“This event provides an excellent opportunity for me to learn what issues are most important to my constituents, so I can best represent them in Washington, D.C.,” said Latta. “I encourage residents to attend and look forward to discussing these issues with them, as well as providing any assistance that may be needed involving the federal government.”
Residents are not required to RSVP, but should contact Congressman Latta’s office at (800) 541-6446 if they have any questions.
Media is also invited to attend the event, but should RSVP to Sarah Criser. Details for the event include the following:
WHO: Congressman Bob Latta
WHAT: One-On-One Meetings with Constituents
WHEN: Friday, July 18, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
WHERE: Wood County Courthouse Atrium, One Courthouse Square, Bowling Green, Ohio 43402
Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH) today joined his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in passing legislation to limit the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) overreach and abuse. H.R. 5016, the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, also addresses the agency’s prior misconduct, including the improper targeting of conservative groups.
“The IRS has demonstrated that it knows no bounds when it comes to overreach and abuse,” said Latta. “From illegal targeting of conservative groups and destroyed emails to lofty bonuses with zero accountability, the agency is out of control. This legislation will hold the IRS accountable to the American people and prevent it from continuing these blatant abuses of power.”
H.R. 5016 prohibits IRS targeting of individuals for exercising their First Amendment rights. The legislation also prohibits the IRS from awarding any bonuses to its employees unless tax compliance and conduct are given consideration. Next, it prevents the destruction, defacing or disposing of any records in accordance with the Federal Records Act. Finally, the legislation prevents the IRS from enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate.
Congressman Bob Latta (R-OH), Co-Chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, today released the following statement regarding the U.S. Senate’s inaction on S. 2363, companion legislation to H.R. 3590, the Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement (SHARE) Act, sponsored by Latta. The bipartisan legislation includes various pro-sportsmen and sportswomen’s provisions to help ensure our outdoor traditions are protected and advanced.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Senate has yet again refused to move forward with legislation to promote and protect our outdoor traditions,” said Latta. “As we’ve seen with the dozens of jobs bills passed through the U.S. House of Representatives, the SHARE Act has unfortunately become another victim of the do-nothing Senate, sitting in the stack of bills on Senator Reid’s desk. The House passed this legislation in February with bipartisan support, and Senator Reid’s refusal to allow amendments to move the bill forward is an indication of how broken the Senate truly is.”
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2448 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Congressman Robert “Bob” Latta (R- Bowling Green) is currently serving his fourth term in the United States House of Representatives following his re-election in 2012. Congressman Latta serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has wide jurisdiction on legislative matters, including energy policy, telecommunications, food and drug safety, public health research, and interstate and foreign commerce. He is a member of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, where he was selected to serve as Vice Chair, as well as a member of the Subcommittees on Energy and Power, and Environment and the Economy. In addition, Congressman Latta serves as an Assistant Majority Whip, Co-Chairman of the Congressional Sportsman Caucus, and the Co-Chair of the Republican New Media Caucus.
Congressman Latta previously served as a member of the Committee on Agriculture, Committee on the Budget, and the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. Before his election to Congress, Latta was a member of the Ohio House of Representatives (2001-2007), Ohio Senate (1997-2000), and Wood County Commissioner (1991-1996).
Since his arrival to Congress, Congressman Latta has advocated for the interests of the people of northwest and west central Ohio and economic prosperity for the country. His top priorities have included balancing the budget, reducing the national debt, and working towards commonsense government reforms. Congressman Latta’s legislative accomplishments include:
· H.R. 270, the TRICARE Continuity Coverage for National Guard and Reserve Families Act, which allows “gray area” retirees access to TRICARE, and was amended into the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), becoming law, P.L. 111-84.
· H.R. 1622, the Spectrum Innovation Act, which authorizes the FCC to conduct incentive spectrum auctions generating billions of dollars to pay down our national debt, as well as unleashing spectrum for innovation and job creation. This incentive auction concept was included in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, H.R. 3630 and signed into law.
· Latta authored language, which was included in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, and signed into law in July 2012 (P.L. 112-144), to help ease drug shortages in the hospital setting.
This year, Congressman Latta was honored by the Healthcare Distribution Management Association (HDMA) with the Rx Safety and Leadership Award (Rx Award) for his leadership and commitment to advancing policies that enhance patient safety and security of the pharmaceutical distribution supply chain nationwide. Latta has also received the Ohio Farm Bureau’s “Friend of Farm Bureau” award, the United States Chamber of Commerce’s “Spirit of Enterprise” award, National Association of Manufacturers’ award for “Manufacturing Legislative Excellence,” National Taxpayer Union’s “Taxpayer Friend Award” and the American Conservative Union’s “ACU Conservative” award. In 2009, Latta was recognized with the Association of the United States Navy National Legislative Advocacy Award for his “superb leadership and outstanding service during the 110th and 111th Congress to improve the quality of life of Active Component and Reserve Component military members and their families.”
As a member of the Ohio General Assembly, Latta was committed to eliminating the death tax to help Ohio’s citizens, small business owners, and farmers, which he achieved in 2000 when 78% of Ohio death tax filers were successfully eliminated. Congressman Latta also worked to make Ohio streets safer when he sponsored the DNA Bill that requires all felons and certain misdemeanants to give DNA samples, which are then placed in the state and national databases. Latta also sponsored the juvenile crime legislation, which in part holds juveniles more responsible for their actions.
A longtime sportsman committed to wildlife and the outdoors, Latta was awarded by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, formerly the Ohio Wildlife Federation, with the Patriot Award in 2002 and 2012, which is given for “dedication and leadership in defending our outdoor heritage.” During his tenure in the Ohio General Assembly, he sponsored the Bald Eagle license plate. The proceeds from these plates are used to purchase eagle habitat and for eagle preservation throughout Ohio. Congressman Latta also serves as a hunter education instructor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Congressman Latta has earned recognition from the United Conservatives of Ohio, naming him “Watchdog of the Treasury” in 1998, 2000, and 2005. The League of Ohio Sportsmen, which is affiliated with the Ohio Wildlife Federation and promotes environmental and sportsmen issues also nominated him in 2000 for the “Legislator of the Year” award. Latta has also earned recognition from the Ohio National Guard receiving the Major General Charles Dick Award for Legislative Excellence in 1999, and the “President’s Award” in 2006.
Congressman Latta is active in his community, where he is a member of the Bowling Green Kiwanis, having served as President, Director, and Trustee. Latta is also a member of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and the Wood County Farm Bureau.
A lifelong resident of northwest Ohio, Congressman Latta graduated from Bowling Green Senior High School in 1974. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowling Green State University in 1978, and earned his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law in 1981.
Congressman Latta and his wife Marcia reside in Bowling Green with their two daughters, Elizabeth and Maria.
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We are in the midst of an innovation era where new, ground-breaking technologies and devices are introduced into the information and communications
Eliminating the set-top box integration ban will foster greater investment and innovation, and more importantly, help decrease the cost of video
The House passed the bipartisan STELA Reauthorization with my provision to eliminate the set-top box integration ban today. While our priority
In Case You Missed It: Check out my op-ed in Roll Call today about the need to keep the Internet open and free for continued growth and investment
This week the House will vote to reauthorize the Satellite Television Extension and Localism Act (STELA) which includes bipartisan pro-consumer,