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 KlobucharGoing national with automatic voter registration Wildfires won't stop at the edge of public land — sustainability policy shouldn't either Klobuchar defends Senate Democrats on Trump nominations 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 Moore CapitoOpioid crisis threatens GOP ObamaCare repeal Sanders to headline 'Don't Take Our Health Care' bus tour The Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (R-W.V.) and Tim ScottTim ScottThe Hill's Whip List: Senate ObamaCare repeal bill Lawmakers celebrate National Selfie Day on Twitter GOP senators pleased with Ivanka Trump meeting on family leave, child tax credits MORE (R-S.C.) are also chairing the caucus, as are Reps. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersPaul Ryan: ‘Beautiful day’ to catch up with Bono Bono signs card for Scalise during Capitol Hill visit The Hill's Latina Leaders to Watch MORE (R-Wash.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardJane Sanders starts group to boost ‘progressive voices’ Lawmakers renew push to end federal ban on marijuana The 43 people who might run against Trump in 2020 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.