Lawmakers launch tech diversity caucus

Members of both chambers of Congress on Monday launched a bipartisan caucus aimed at getting more women, minorities and veterans into the tech sector.

The eight leaders of the new Diversifying Technology Caucus said that the effort will work with the startup advocacy group Engine to push for greater inclusiveness and diversity in the industry, which has been criticized for being overly male, white and Asian-American.

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“If our country’s tech industry is going to stay at the cutting-edge, we have to enlist the creativity and ingenuity of all Americans,” Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharSenate reaches deal on new sexual harassment policy Washington governor to make Iowa debut Senators near deal on sexual harassment policy change MORE (D-Minn.), one of the caucus leaders, said in a statement.

The new caucus “will bring together lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, along with researchers and academics, to shape policy that will help increase diversity in the industry and move our economy forward,” she added.

Sens. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoPa. health secretary: 'Sustainable funding' needed to attack opioid crisis Senate panel unanimously approves water infrastructure bill The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — How long can a Trump-DOJ accord survive? MORE (R-W.V.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottSenate GOP urges Trump administration to work closely with Congress on NAFTA Fed nominees vow to rebuff pressure from Trump on interest rates The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-S.C.) are also chairing the caucus, as are Reps. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersFreedom Caucus bruised but unbowed in GOP primary fights Millennial GOP lawmakers pleased with McMorris Rodgers meeting on party messaging The Hill's Morning Report: Trump’s Cabinet mess MORE (R-Wash.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardPavlich: Media gives Hamas exactly what they want Overnight Defense: House panel passes 6B defense bill | What's in the bill and what didn't make the cut | Pentagon details 'failures' in Niger operation | Trump, Kim meeting set Policy issues take center stage as House panel passes 6B defense authorization bill MORE (D-Hawaii), Robin Kelly (D-Ill.) and Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.).

Tech companies have been playing defense for months over charges that Silicon Valley and other industry hubs are too homogenous. At Google, for instance, just 2 percent of the workforce is African-American, and 30 percent is female.

"For America to remain a leader in the innovation economy, we need to make sure that everyone can participate in the tech community regardless of race or gender," McMorris Rodgers said.

In coming weeks, the new caucus will aim to combat that trend by studying the issues, intensifying focus on specific obstacles and forming a congressional advisory council of “tech-friendly” staffers from across the Capitol.