TechAmerica lauds House GOP's tech agenda


Protecting U.S. intellectual property from online piracy is another hot issue thanks to the PROTECT IP Act, which recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously.

The bill has bipartisan support but is currently on hold due to concerns from Sen. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate GOP blocks defense bill, throwing it into limbo Lobbyists turn to infrastructure law's implementation Democrats plow ahead as Manchin yo-yos MORE (D-Ore.) that the powers it confers on the government to seize domains are too broad and may result in censorship of the Web. The entertainment, software and clothing industries are strong backers of the bill.

The path forward on spectrum policy is less distinct. There is support for incentive auctions that would allow mobile broadband providers to purchase spectrum relinquished by broadcasters but the controversy over what should be done with the valuable D Block of spectrum remains unresolved.

Public safety advocates believe the D Block should be assigned to first responders for a national public safety network, while others believe it should be auctioned with other blocks of spectrum to raise funds to build such a network.

Finally, the House GOP's tech agenda includes a proposal to re-examine the immigration system as it relates to temporary foreign workers as well as the foreign science and engineering graduates at U.S. universities that are prized by technology firms.

While comprehensive immigration reform seems a political non-starter at this point, there is hope the H1-B visa system can be reformed to focus on attracting skilled technology workers to U.S. firms. The program has been criticized frequently for how the visas are currently distributed.

Lawmakers are also hopeful that something can be done to allow foreign post-graduate students in technical and scientific fields to stay in the U.S. after graduation. Employment-sponsored greencards and visas for entrepreneurs who secure funding for their startups are two such proposals.