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 KlobucharWarren declines to disavow super PAC that supports her San Diego Union-Tribune endorses Buttigieg 'Where's your spoon?' What we didn't learn in the latest debate 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 CapitoTrump hammers Manchin over impeachment vote Senate drama surrounding Trump trial starts to fizzle Democrat Richard Ojeda announces Senate bid after dropping out of presidential race MORE (R-W.V.) and Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottGOP senators offering bill to cement business provision in Trump tax law Sunday shows preview: Top tier 2020 Democrats make their case before New Hampshire primary Democrat gives standing ovation to Trump comments on opportunity zones MORE (R-S.C.) are also chairing the caucus, as are Reps. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersCelebrating and expanding upon five years of the ABLE  Act Koch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says Lawmakers voice skepticism over Facebook's deepfake ban MORE (R-Wash.), Barbara Comstock (R-Va.), Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardBloomberg, Sanders, Biden beat Trump in head-to-heads in North Carolina: poll Sanders takes lead in new Hill/HarrisX poll The Hill's Campaign Report: Bloomberg to face off with rivals at Nevada debate 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.