Technology

Week ahead: House Republicans tackle Uber economy

Congressional Republicans are staking out their ground on the “sharing economy.”

Republicans on a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee are holding a hearing on Tuesday titled “The Disrupter Series: How the Sharing Economy Creates Jobs, Benefits Consumers, and Raises Policy Questions.”

So far, Democrats — in particular Sen. Mark Warner (Va.) — have been most vocal about Congress’s role in the burgeoning business model, also called the “on-demand economy.”

{mosads}Warner has advocated building a social safety net for workers at many on-demand companies who are classified as independent contractors, not full employees, and therefore don’t qualify for certain benefits and protections. Critics say the companies use undercompensated workers to drive up their massive valuations.

Republicans, especially on the campaign trail, have said that it’s important not to impede the development of companies like Uber by regulating them heavily.

Now House Republicans are eager to carve out their own stance, and the subpanel’s GOP majority is likely to express a positive view of companies in the on-demand economy.

“The sharing economy is an example of American innovation at its finest,” said Chairman  Michael Burgess (R-Texas) in a statement on the hearing.

“With over 80 million Americans taking advantage of the many e-sharing options, we will work to better understand how this growing sector of our economy works, what it means for consumers and job creators, and what hurdles these businesses are facing across the country.”

Elsewhere on Capitol Hill, the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning plans to mark up the Strengthening State and Local Cyber Crime Fighting Act. The bill would establish a National Computer Forensics Institute for “the dissemination of homeland security information related to the investigation and prevention of cyber and electronic crime, including threats of terrorism or acts of terrorism, to educate, train, and equip State, local, tribal, and territorial law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges.”

There’s also sure to be speculation on the race to succeed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who announced Friday he will resign from Congress in October.

Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — a friend of the tech industry who ascended to the No. 2 leadership spot after the primary loss of former Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.) — is seen by many as the favorite.

 

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Tags Boehner Eric Cantor John Boehner Mark Warner Michael Burgess
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