The House and Senate Intelligence panels will hold hearings to examine worldwide threats, including those in the cyber and technology spaces, next week after a two-year gap. Meanwhile, a new coalition of independent businesses is targeting Amazon as it pushes for a revamp of federal antitrust policy, and Amazon CEO Jeff BezosJeffrey (Jeff) Preston BezosAmazon union vote count starts this week for Alabama warehouse Amazon tangles with Warren on Twitter Sanders says he isn’t ‘comfortable’ with Twitter’s Trump ban MORE is throwing his weight behind raising the corporate tax rate to pay for President BidenJoe BidenJoe Biden’s surprising presidency The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden, McConnell agree on vaccines, clash over infrastructure Republican battle with MLB intensifies MORE’s infrastructure package.
ANNUAL THREATS HEARINGS RETURN: The House and Senate Intelligence committees will question leaders of five major intelligence and security agencies next week, resuming the annual tradition of a worldwide threats hearing that was abandoned under the Trump administration.
Director of National Intelligence Avril HainesAvril Haines2024 GOP White House hopefuls lead opposition to Biden Cabinet Biden to hold first Cabinet meeting on Thursday Haines stresses rebuilding intelligence alliances post-Trump MORE, CIA Director William BurnsWilliam BurnsBiden urges Congress to pass assault weapon ban The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Happy anniversary to ObamaCare Harris calls Boulder shooting ‘absolutely tragic’ MORE, FBI Director Christopher Wray, National Security Agency Director Gen. Paul Nakasone and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Scott Berrier will all appear before the Senate on April 14 and before the House on April 15.
Federal law requires the intelligence community to submit an annual worldwide threats assessment, but agencies failed to do so during Trump’s final two years in office. The last worldwide threats hearings were in January 2019.
“Over the last four years, the Trump Administration discarded the tradition of open hearings on World Wide Threats, when it displeased the former president to have his preferred views of rival nations contradicted by agency heads,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffThe Hill’s Morning Report – Biden tasks Harris on border; news conference today The Hill’s Morning Report – Biden: Back to the future on immigration, Afghanistan, Iran Ambitious House lawmakers look for promotions MORE (D-Calif.) said in a statement.
PUSHING FOR ANTITRUST POLICY: A coalition of independent businesses launched Tuesday with the goal of urging federal policy reform to rein in the market power of top tech companies.
The coalition, Small Business Rising, specifically takes aim at Amazon — accusing the e-commerce giant of anti-competitive tactics and harming small firms nationwide.
The coalition is urging lawmakers to help break up and regulate the tech companies it called monopolies.
It’s also urging lawmakers to block dominating corporations from engaging in abusive tactics by strengthening antitrust laws, as well as outlawing “mega-mergers.”
Amazon pushed back on the coalition’s criticism, saying it has in fact “empowered small and mediums-sized businesses.”
BEZOS BACKS CORPORATE TAX HIKE: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced on Tuesday that the company is supportive of raising the corporate tax rate to pay for President Biden’s infrastructure package.
Bezos released a statement that he supports the administration’s focus on infrastructure and that “it’s the right time to work together” to pass a package.
“We recognize this investment will require concessions from all sides — both on the specifics of what’s included as well as how it gets paid for (we’re supportive of a rise in the corporate tax rate),” Bezos said.
UPDATE, PLEASE: Bipartisan leaders of a key Senate panel on Tuesday pressed the Biden administration for more information on its investigation into two recent, massive foreign espionage hacking incidents.
Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Gary PetersGary PetersFive things to watch on Biden infrastructure plan Committee chairs continue their lawmaking decline Michigan GOP unveils dozens of election overhaul bills after 2020 loss MORE (D-Mich.) and ranking member Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanOhio Democrat Danny O’Connor won’t seek Portman’s Senate seat The Memo: Biden’s bet on taxes White House: GOP has ‘struggled’ to explain opposition to infrastructure plan MORE (R-Ohio) sent letters on cybersecurity concerns to Brandon Wales, the acting director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), and to Federal CISO Christopher DeRusha, who works within the White House’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The committee leaders questioned Wales and DeRusha about the progress the administration has made garnering information about the SolarWinds hack, which U.S. intelligence agencies assessed in January was “likely” carried out by Russian hackers, and compromised at least nine federal agencies and 100 private sector groups.
The senators also asked questions about recently discovered vulnerabilities in Microsoft’s Exchange Server, which the company said last month was actively exploited by at least one state-sponsored Chinese hacking group to gain access to thousands of organizations around the world.
“There is no easy solution to advanced persistent cyber threats,” the senators wrote.
YOUTUBE KIDS : Rep. Raja KrishnamoorthiSubramanian (Raja) Raja KrishnamoorthiFrom one ‘big house’ to another: DOJ must hold the leaders of Purdue Pharma accountable House Democrats target HHS ‘sunset’ rule with Congressional Review Act House Democrats introduce ‘DeJoy Act’ to block postal service changes MORE (D-Ill.), chair of the Oversight and Reform subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, sent a letter to YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki requesting documents about YouTube Kids amid concerns over the content and advertisement practices for children.
Krishnamoorthi wrote that YouTube Kids “appears to be serving up inappropriate, low-education, highly commercial content.”
“I believe that may be ascribable to your advertisement-based business model and reliance on free uploads of user-generated videos without adequate quality control. YouTube profits from this disservice of children with more paid ads and more corporate revenue,” he wrote.
FACEBOOK TAKES ACTION: Facebook on Tuesday announced that during March it removed more than 1,100 accounts tied to spreading deceptive content in a variety of countries as part of its effort to root out domestic and international disinformation efforts.
The social media giant reported that it had also removed almost 300 Instagram accounts, over 250 Facebook pages, and 34 Facebook groups tied to 14 coordinated influence operations over the past month.
The over a dozen networks were based around the world, including five in Mexico along with networks in Israel, Comoros, Georgia, and Benin that were targeting domestic audiences within each country.
One network based in Israel was targeting Iranian audiences, while the remaining networks in Spain, El Salvador, Argentina, Albania and Iran were all targeting groups in various other countries.
GOOGLE RESEARCHER STEPS DOWN: A Google researcher who oversaw the company’s artificial intelligence (AI) ethics group resigned on Tuesday following the controversial dismissal of two of his former colleagues on the research team, Bloomberg reported. 
The researcher, Samy Bengio, announced he would be leaving in an email to staff obtained by Bloomberg. Bengio’s last day will be on April 28, the outlet reported.
“While I am looking forward to my next challenge, there’s no doubt that leaving this wonderful team is really difficult,” Bengio reportedly wrote in the email.
In his message, Bengio did not refer to Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell, two of his former colleagues leading Google’s work on ethical AI that were ousted in recent months, according to Bloomberg.
BEZOS TOPS BILLIONAIRE LIST, AGAIN: Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has topped Forbes’s annual world’s billionaire list for the fourth consecutive year.
This year’s billionaires are worth a combined $ 13.1 trillion, up from $ 8 trillion last year, according to Forbes. This year’s list has 493 newcomers, including dating app Bumble’s CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd.
Tesla CEO Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskBernie Sanders goes after Elon Musk for wanting to explore space Sheriff’s office confirms SpaceX debris found in Washington state The Hill’s Morning Report – GOP pounces on Biden’s infrastructure plan MORE comes in second on the list, jumping from the 31st spot last year. Rounding out the top five are LVMH CEO Bernard Arnualt, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerburg.
An op-ed to chew on: Biden’s infrastructure proposal is good for America’s national security too 
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