Current events continue to highlight the essential role technology plays in defending democracy, growing our economy, and improving our lives. During the pandemic, the technology industry produced personal protective equipment and ventilators, helped scientists to discover new drug treatments and research vaccines, reduced barriers to telework options, connected students and teachers, empowered small businesses with e-commerce solutions, delivered food and other essentials, provided emergency transportation, and facilitated contact tracing, all while upholding IT infrastructures. Now, tech companies are standing with Ukraine by keeping their networks and data operational and secure, ending operations in Russia, and donating millions to help victims and refugees. You can read about these bold actions here.
America’s tech sector provides $2 trillion in economic output annually, representing 10.5 percent of the U.S. economy, but we can’t take America’s science and technology superiority for granted. When the Bloomberg Innovation Index debuted in 2013, the United States ranked first among 50 countries. In 2021, the U.S. sank to 11th place.
During this year’s TechNet Day, taking place April 5 and 6, TechNet executives will meet with Congressional leaders and Administration officials to discuss how to reclaim America’s global leadership in innovation. We can do this by:
Passing a Global Competitiveness Package
Federal investment has led to many of the technologies we use every day, but bold action is needed to usher in a new era of exploration and invention to increase our global competitiveness. TechNet urges Congress to quickly reconcile USICA and the America COMPETES Act to authorize one of the largest investments in science and technology in U.S. history. We strongly support Congress retaining provisions from both bills that provide at least $50 billion to increase domestic production of semiconductors, as well as robust funding to create regional tech hubs that will become global centers for the research and development of emerging technologies while creating good, high- paying jobs across the U.S.
We also urge Congress to retain provisions from the America COMPETES Act that will help us attract the world’s best and brightest talent – a startup visa for entrepreneurs and exemptions from green card caps for Ph.D. and Master’s degree holders in STEM fields. TechNet strongly supports increased STEM education and skills training, but that will not solve our current workforce crisis. The shortage of U.S. workers with a post-secondary degree will result in more than nine million job vacancies and $1.2 trillion in lost production over the next decade.
Building the Nation’s New Infrastructure and Mobility Future
The new infrastructure law will help close the digital divide, deploy clean energy and transportation technologies to help address the climate crisis, and strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity resilience. TechNet is eager to work with the Biden Administration to swiftly implement Congress’ historic investment in our nation’s infrastructure, which will require relief from the law’s steep domestic content requirements for commercial IT products. This will enable these critical resources to be deployed as quickly as possible. We also look forward to partnering with policymakers to accelerate domestic production and adoption of electric vehicles and advance the future of mobility by creating a national autonomous vehicle safety framework.
Fighting Climate Change
Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, and technology companies are committed to leading by example through innovation and sustainability efforts. The federal government, private sector, and consumers all share a role in building a cleaner, better future for our planet. TechNet supports the federal government’s goal of limiting warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the year 2050. We urge Congress to pass bipartisan and meaningful climate legislation that shifts our economy away from its reliance on fossil fuels and toward clean energy innovations by expanding clean energy tax credits, incentivizing the transition to electric vehicles, funding conversion to energy-efficient buildings, and investing in carbon capture R&D.
Passing a National Data Privacy Law
37 states have passed or introduced 72 different, and often conflicting, data privacy bills since 2018, and consumers, small businesses, and state economies are paying the price. The projected cost of a 50-state patchwork of privacy laws to our economy is more than $1 trillion over 10 years, with more than $200 billion being paid by small businesses. TechNet urges Congress to pass a national data privacy law that protects consumers’ data and privacy regardless of where they live and provides businesses certainty about their responsibilities.
Protecting U.S. Technology Leadership
U.S. technology companies are shaping the future of innovation in the 21st century. As global technology regulators attempt to impose barriers and burdensome regulations targeting U.S. tech companies, Congress must ensure that proposed rules do not lead to consumer harms, undermine user privacy, weaken U.S. national security and global competitiveness by solely targeting American companies, and/or disrupt the tech ecosystem that small and medium-sized companies rely on to reach their customers.
Jumpstarting the U.S. Trade Agenda
Maintaining a rules-based global trading system and ensuring U.S. businesses and workers are able to compete fairly in the global marketplace are critical for our economic growth and job creation. The U.S. can improve market access for the technology sector by developing and cultivating strong relationships with our international trading partners, participating in efforts to shape global trade and taxation rules, and reducing trade barriers, such as tariffs, data localization policies, and discriminatory regulations that hurt American consumers, workers, and businesses of all sizes.
Download TechNet’s two-page 2022 Federal Policy Agenda here.