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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 KlobucharSenate committee approves nominations of three FEC commissioners Scammers step up efforts to target older Americans during pandemic Hillicon Valley: YouTube suspends OANN amid lawmaker pressure | Dems probe Facebook, Twitter over Georgia runoff | FCC reaffirms ZTE's national security risk 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 CapitoBiden says GOP senators have called to congratulate him McConnell in tough position as House eyes earmark return Graham: Trump should attend Biden inauguration 'if' Biden wins MORE (R-W.V.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottDemocrats lead in diversity in new Congress despite GOP gains The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Capital One - Pfizer unveils detailed analysis of COVID-19 vaccine & next steps GOP senators congratulate Harris on Senate floor MORE (R-S.C.) are also chairing the caucus, as are Reps. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Westerman tapped as top Republican on House Natural Resources Committee | McMorris Rodgers wins race for top GOP spot on Energy and Commerce | EPA joins conservative social network Parler McMorris Rodgers wins race for top GOP spot on Energy and Commerce OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Republicans in campaign mode for top spots on House environmental committees | Peterson loss prompts scramble for House Agriculture chair MORE (R-Wash.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTrump doubles down on Section 230 repeal after GOP pushback Six people whose election wins made history Next Congress expected to have record diversity 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.