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Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), on right, chairs the Commerce Committee. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Lawmakers who will play key roles in writing a national privacy law may tip their hands at a series of hearings this week.

Why it matters: Industry groups have been pushing Congress to take action that would override a growing number of state privacy laws, led by regulations set to go into effect in California next year.

Driving the news:

  • A House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on Tuesday featuring industry representatives and consumer advocates.
  • A Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Wednesday featuring trade groups for tech and telecom companies, but not public interest groups. (AT&T and the trade group US Telecom are hosting a fundraiser for the committee's chairman, Mississippi Republican Sen. Roger Wicker the night before the hearing.)

What to watch:

  • Timing: Top lawmakers on both panels may signal when they expect to introduce legislative proposals. A group of senators working on bipartisan legislation have yet to confirm, for example, when they will release their legislation.
  • Preemption: One of the hottest debates on Capitol Hill is whether Congress should override state rules, with Democrats indicating they'd only agree to do so if a national law was appropriately tough. Lawmakers representing California — including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi — have expressed an interest in protecting states' rights to enforce their own privacy rules.
  • Scope: Much of the privacy debate has centered on Silicon Valley and Facebook in particular. Will lawmakers continue that trend or more aggressively ask questions about other industries, like retailers and DNA tests, that also produce sensitive consumer data?

The other coast: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and a state lawmaker introduced a bill to make changes to the state's forthcoming privacy rules following public forums on the issue, including an expanded ability for consumers to sue companies over privacy issues. Common Sense, a consumer advocacy group, said it supported the changes.

The bottom line: So far, the privacy debate in Congress has seen a lot of press attention and not much movement. Despite a year of discussion about these issues on Capitol Hill, it's still just the beginning of what could be a protracted legislative process.

Go deeper

Scoop: Trump-backed Perdue says he wouldn’t have certified Georgia 2020 results

Perdue at a December 2020 campaign event in Columbus, Ga. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images

Georgia gubernatorial candidate David Perdue wouldn’t have signed the certification of the state’s 2020 election results if he had been governor at the time, the former Senate Republican told Axios.

  • “Not with the information that was available at the time and not with the information that has come out now. They had plenty of time to investigate this. And I wouldn’t have signed it until those things had been investigated and that’s all we were asking for," he said.

Why it matters: There has been no evidence widespread fraud took place in Georgia's elections last year and the November results were counted three times, once by hand.

Beijing Olympics: These countries have announced diplomatic boycotts

Photo: Zhang Qiang/VCG via Getty Images

Several countries, including Canada and Australia, have announced they will join the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to protest human rights abuses committed by China's government.

Driving the news: Leaders have faced pressure from human rights groups and others to boycott the Games, pointing to the ongoing genocide of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in China's Xinjiang region and other abuses.

Biden directs federal government to become carbon neutral by 2050

President Biden speaking to reporters outside of the White House on Dec. 8.

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that requires the federal government achieve multiple goals related to reducing its carbon emissions, including achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Why it matters: Meeting the objectives of the order would require a massive investment by the federal government to buy electric vehicles, upgrade buildings and change how it procures electricity.