A Better Way on Tech Growth
- The U.S. technology sector employs more than 6.3 million people, and tech trade accounts for nearly $1 trillion in U.S. economic activity.
- Under the Democrat Senate and the Obama administration, tech industry job growth has lagged behind the rest of the economy.
- Senate Republicans intend to boost growth in the tech sector by leading on patent reform, cybersecurity, digital trade, and providing regulatory sanity for the tech industry.
The technology sector has become a vital part of the U.S. economy. In 2013, America’s tech exports totaled $205 billion. Technology companies now employ more than 6.3 million Americans.
Senate Democrats and the Obama administration have failed to deliver the legislative and executive solutions needed to sustain robust growth in the technology sector. From 2012 to 2013, tech exports increased by a dismal 0.8 percent. Our tech industry should be growing far more rapidly, to ensure that it can compete around the world. Instead, the tech sector grew by only 119,000 jobs in the first six months of 2014 – just a 1.9 increase from the previous year. That kind of tepid growth is unacceptable for America’s economy, and even worse in the innovative tech sector.
“If the United States is to enjoy continued success in the technology arena, policymakers must ensure a legal and regulatory landscape that will enable our innovators to thrive.” – Senator Orrin Hatch, 10/21/2014
When Senate Democrats were in the majority, they failed to pass critical updates to a number of laws that have become obsolete in the wake of technological advances. These include the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986; the Telecommunications Act of 1996; and laws governing intellectual property, cybersecurity protections, corporate tax reform, access to the best workers, and digital trade. Republicans are ready to lead on all of these important issues in this new Congress.
Improving conditions for tech sector growth
In order to build a foundation for companies to succeed in the global economy, Republicans will work for tax reform, increased digital trade, and a practical approach to achieve an open Internet. Senate Republicans intend to pass legislation focused on cybersecurity: the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 will improve protections for the government and companies. Just two months after Republican took charge of the Senate, the Intelligence Committee approved that bill on a bipartisan vote of 14-1. The chairman of the Finance Committee has laid out principles on tax reform that would help American tech companies compete in the worldwide marketplace. The Judiciary Committee intends to work on patent reform and has already held a hearing on the issue.
Updating obsolete laws
Senate Republicans intend to pass legislation updating outdated laws like the Telecommunications Act of 1996 and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986. These laws govern critical parts of the tech sector, but have not been sufficiently updated since the infancy of the Internet.
Senator Thune has said that the Commerce Committee plans to upgrade the Communications Act. Senators Hatch and Heller have introduced the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act, to modernize how regulators approach data privacy protections, electronic communications, digital trade, and cloud computing.
In a time when the Obama administration is making it harder for innovation to occur, the Republican Congress will modernize our country’s technology policy. This will foster an environment for more technology growth and jobs.
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