TechNet Discussed its Top Federal Priorities with Leaders from Both Parties During a Successful TechNet Day

Washington, D.C. – TechNet, the national, bipartisan network of innovation economy CEOs and senior executives, formally released its 2023 Federal Policy Agenda outlining top priorities that will ensure the United States wins the next era of innovation.

The release of TechNet’s 2023 Federal Policy Agenda follows a successful “TechNet Day” in Washington, D.C., where these policy priorities were discussed with key leaders from both political parties. TechNet Day is TechNet’s annual marquee federal advocacy event that brings together leaders in Congress, the Administration, and TechNet member-company CEOs and senior executives to discuss the key issues impacting innovation, our economy, and our global competitiveness. This was the 23rd annual TechNet Day.

“The U.S. digital economy accounts for 10.3 percent of U.S. GDP and eight million jobs, growing each year at more than double the rate of the overall economy. Technology underpins all sectors of our economy and advances America’s values and interests around the world. But we can’t take American tech leadership for granted,” said TechNet President and CEO Linda Moore. “A recent study shows China has taken the lead over the U.S. in 37 of 44 technologies, from defense and energy to artificial intelligence and quantum computing. China has set itself up to excel not just in current technological development, but in future technologies that don’t yet exist. As our federal policy agenda highlights, we need the right policies in place so current and future technologies are developed and launched in this country. Ensuring the U.S. wins the next era of innovation is both an economic and national security imperative.”

“As we told lawmakers on TechNet Day, we commend the President and Congress for their leadership in ensuring America remains at the forefront of innovation in the global economy,” said Peter Chandler, TechNet’s Vice President for Federal Policy and Government Relations. “The CHIPS and Science Act, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and other investments made by the last Congress will rebuild our nation’s infrastructure and spur new research and development. This Congress must build on that foundation to win the next era of innovation. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress to make that happen.”

TechNet’s 2023 Federal Policy Agenda, titled “Winning the Next Era of Innovation,” provides an overview of the top priorities that will enable the U.S. to outcompete our foreign rivals. It includes the following:

Fully Fund America’s New Tech Hubs
The previous Congress laid the foundation for the next era of innovation with the passage of the CHIPS and Science Act. Congress must finish the job by funding the heart of the CHIPS and Science Act, the Regional Technology and Innovation Hubs Program, which will ensure emerging technologies like 5G, quantum computing, AI, and autonomous vehicles are developed and deployed in this country, with the U.S. setting the rules of use.

Invest in America’s STEM Talent Pipeline
The United States faces a STEM talent pipeline crisis that threatens our economy and national security. Congress must fully fund the authorized, but not yet funded, STEM and workforce training programs in the CHIPS and Science Act to address the growing skills gap and counter investments made by China by educating students to fill the technology-enabled jobs of the future while training adults to fill vacancies we face today.

Win the Race for Global Talent 
U.S. semiconductor manufacturers have cited a severe shortage of engineers and technicians as their greatest obstacle in significantly increasing domestic chip production. They need at least 50,000 new semiconductor engineers over the next five years and 90,000 skilled technicians by 2030 to staff all of the new factories and research labs that companies have said they plan to build with CHIPS and Science Act subsidies, numbers far exceeding current graduation rates nationwide. Congress must find common ground on high-skilled immigration and border reform and reduce critical STEM talent shortages by recapturing unused visas, exempting advanced graduates in STEM fields from green card caps, and eliminating outdated and arbitrary per-country caps on green cards that no longer track to economic need.

Unleash America’s Mobility Future
Electric Vehicles (EVs) and Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are the defining mobility innovations of this and the next generation. These technologies will revolutionize how Americans travel and make our roadways cleaner, safer, and more accessible. The U.S. auto industry represents over 10 million American workers and more than 3.5% of the national GDP. Congress should pass a uniform national framework that promotes the safe testing, deployment, and operation of AVs through clarifying federal and state roles, expanded exemptions, and expedited rulemaking. Congress should also expand the Section 30D tax credit’s free-trade agreement country requirement for minerals and battery sourcing to include key allied nations to support the critical supply chains needed to accelerate domestic EV deployment.

Strengthen Cybersecurity
Our foreign adversaries, including China and Russia, are well-resourced and highly motivated to steal our data and trade secrets and disrupt critical infrastructure using the most sophisticated cyber weapons. Congress should pass legislation to educate and train a highly-skilled workforce, modernize government IT, and build long-lasting public-private partnerships to share the latest in threat information with American companies in real time. In addition, Congress should build on previous investments in cybersecurity resiliency from the FY24 NDAA to ensure our nation’s critical infrastructure is safeguarded from cyberattacks.

Protect U.S. Technology Leadership
U.S. technology companies are shaping the future of innovation in the 21st century. As foreign technology regulators attempt to impose barriers and burdensome regulations targeting leading U.S. tech companies, American policymakers must ensure that proposals do not harm consumers, weaken our national security and global competitiveness by solely targeting American companies, or disrupt the tech ecosystem that small and medium-sized companies utilize to reach their customers.

Embrace Artificial Intelligence & Promote Responsible Innovation
Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are crucial to maintaining America’s competitive advantage. AI and ML are increasing productivity, democratizing and expanding access to important services, and enhancing product innovation. TechNet supports voluntary government guidelines that establish consensus standards and outline a comprehensive approach to AI, limit regulatory overreach, and promote trustworthiness within technology. AI innovation should be embraced, but it must be developed and implemented responsibly.

Fix Laws That Stifle Innovation
Recent changes in federal tax law threaten to stifle U.S. innovation right when we need to incentivize more R&D and foster a thriving digital economy. Congress should allow R&D tax deductions in the same year an expenditure is made rather than amortizing it over five years. Congress must increase the 1099-K reporting threshold this year, which will impact millions of Americans, such as casual sellers utilizing online marketplaces.

Support the Workforce of Tomorrow 
The continued growth of the gig and sharing economy has created income opportunities in virtually every corner of the country, allowing more than 58 million Americans to work independently and on preferred discretionary schedules, run their own businesses, and provide for their families while being their own boss. Congress should pass legislation to allow businesses to offer workplace benefits without undermining the flexibility of independent work for students, parents, caregivers, small entrepreneurs, veterans, and retirees. Similarly, hybrid and remote work have created inclusive economic opportunities, particularly for caretakers, the disabled, and those without access to major economic centers. Congress should amend federal labor laws to ensure appropriate protections and rights for remote workers.

Pass a Federal Data Privacy Law
Congress should pass a bipartisan federal privacy law. Since 2018, 178 privacy bills have been introduced in 45 states. This year alone, 27 states have introduced 55 comprehensive privacy bills. Consumers in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, Utah, and Virginia will all soon be regulated by different privacy laws. This growing patchwork is confusing consumers and having a chilling effect on our economy, especially for small businesses.

You can read TechNet’s full 2023 Federal Policy Agenda here.