Senate Commerce Advances Sullivan Priorities on Fish, Aviation, and 5G Technology

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) today thanked his colleagues on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee for approving important pieces of legislation that he co-sponsored, including a bill to help fill the ranks of Alaska’s vital fishing sector, a bill to fix challenges to hiring new American air traffic controllers, and two pieces of legislation aimed at safeguarding America’s telecommunications infrastructure as systems transition to 5G technology.  

Air Traffic Controllers Hiring Reform Act 

Introduced by Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) on April 11 and cosponsored by Senator Sullivan, S.1148, the Air Traffic Controllers Hiring Reform Act would reform the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) current hiring process for air traffic controllers by giving added preference to graduates of the Certified Collegiate Training Initiative (CTI) programs and veterans.  

“Representing the state with more pilots per capita and more communities reachable principally by air than any other, I appreciate the critical nature of our air traffic controllers and the need to ensure the FAA has the necessary tools to staff the control room with highly-qualified individuals,” said Senator Sullivan. “I’m glad to help push legislation that will address some of the unintended consequences of previous FAA hiring processes that limited the agency’s ability to fill the ranks with the most qualified candidates.” 

Young Fishermen’s Development Act 

Senator Sullivan introduced S. 496, the Young Fishermen’s Development Act, on February 14 to help address the challenges facing new entrants into the fishing industry, and ensure they can gain the business and other expertise needed to be a successful fishermen in the 21st Century. 

“Fishing is a huge industry in Alaska, employing more than any other in our state,” said Senator Sullivan. “It is incredibly important that we help break down barriers that prevent new fishermen from filling the ranks of our fishing sector. I appreciate my colleagues advancing my bipartisan bill that will bolster training opportunities and apprenticeship programs, harness the expertise of our experienced fishermen, and offer new grants to enable more young entrepreneurs to build rewarding careers as fishermen.” 

U.S. 5G Leadership Act and the Secure 5G and Beyond Act 

Introduced by Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS) on May 22 and cosponsored by Senator Sullivan, S.1625, the United States 5G Leadership Act of 2019, would promote the deployment of commercial fifth generation mobile networks and the sharing of information with American communications providers about the security risks posed by certain overseas technology firms. Importantly, the bill provides the resources needed by telecommunications carriers that are tasked with identifying, extracting, and replacing problematic equipment. 

Additionally, S. 893, the Secure 5G and Beyond Act, introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) and cosponsored by Senator Sullivan, would require the executive branch to develop and implement a comprehensive national strategy to guarantee the security of 5G technology and telecommunications systems and infrastructure.  

“The security risks posed by foreign suppliers of 5G technology to our public and private networks and systems equipment cannot be overstated,” said Senator Sullivan. “All stakeholders – state, local and federal governments, our international allies, and domestic telecommunications providers – must take this challenge seriously, and work together to share findings with one another and cooperate toward protecting our economic and national security interests, and mitigating potential interference or disruption by a hostile actor.” 

The bills, approved with seven other pieces of legislation and a U.S. Coast Guard nomination by the committee, now go to the full Senate for consideration.  

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