Surveillance, visa reforms top GOP chairman's tech agenda

Surveillance, visa reforms top GOP chairman's tech agenda
© Greg Nash

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteHouse GOP probe into FBI, DOJ comes to an end Murkowski to reintroduce bill to help abused Native American women FBI hits GOP chairman over push to clear sensitive transcripts by Christmas Eve MORE (R-Va.) on Tuesday unveiled his committee’s agenda on technology and innovation.

Under his "blueprint," Goodlatte hopes to see his committee tackle top tech issues, including changes to surveillance and encryption laws, and on high-skilled immigration.

On immigration, he told reporters the committee was working to “find a balanced solution to increase the high-skilled talent pool to promote job growth through visa and green card reforms,” while also “protecting job opportunities for similarly qualified Americans.”

Goodlatte said too many green cards are currently going toward family members of immigrants already in the U.S. instead of the most valuable workers.

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He wants more green cards to go to individuals based on education and job skills.

“We need to move in that direction,” the chairman said.

He also focused much of his remarks on surveillance issues, including proposed reforms to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a controversial provision authorizing U.S. intelligence to surveil noncitizens.

Goodlatte also said he hopes to hold a committee hearing in the next month about how the U.S. accesses communications data in other countries.

The chairman also pushed for reforming domestic data collection. He called the bipartisan passage of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act by the House earlier this year a "legislative victory."

The email privacy bill forces law enforcement to obtain a warrant to look at a citizen’s digital correspondence.

“We will continue to work with our counterparts on the Senate side to get this one across the finish line and to the President’s desk for his signature,” Goodlatte said.

The bill has yet to hit the Senate floor but could face a tough path in the upper chamber. The No. 2 Republican in the Senate, John CornynJohn CornynTrump created a competition of crises: The border or the shutdown Senators restart shutdown talks — and quickly hit roadblocks Former GOP rep: We would be 'storming the White House' if Obama mulled national emergency MORE (Texas), is expected to add a provision weakening the privacy provisions and making it easier for law enforcement to get access to emails.

Cornyn managed to kill an earlier version of the bill in 2016 by attaching a similar amendment.