Biden needs to address sweeping tech layoffs, Big Tech backers say

Facebook’s Meta logo sign is seen at the company headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. on Oct. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Tech industry group Chamber of Progress is urging President Biden to lay out a plan to support recovery and job growth in the tech sector after widespread layoffs during his State of the Union address on Tuesday. 

The CEO of Chamber of Progress, whose corporate partners include Apple, Amazon, Google parent company Alphabet and Meta, sent the president a letter last week asking him to “offer a jobs and competitiveness plan” for the tech sector during his speech, according to a copy of the letter exclusively shared with The Hill. 

“To help prevent a worsening economic cycle and to maintain U.S. competitiveness in tech during the current downturn, I urge your Administration to put forward a plan for tech sector recovery, job growth, and competitiveness,” Chamber of Progress CEO Adam Kovacevich wrote. 

The push from Chamber of Progress comes as Biden is reportedly expected to call for tougher regulations of tech giants, ramping up his support of efforts to rein in the power of the nation’s largest tech companies. 

Biden’s speech will address antitrust enforcement as well as a call for stronger privacy protections, The Washington Post reported. It follows an op-ed the president penned in The Wall Street Journal urging Congress to work together across the aisle on issues related to boosting competition and improving data privacy. 

If Biden shares a message backing efforts to reform antitrust law, tech advocacy groups will likely cheer the decision. 

Kyle Morse, deputy executive director of The Tech Oversight Project, said, “We hope that President Biden will double down and galvanize Congress to pass tech accountability measures that will improve competition and rein in bad actors.”

“Tech oversight is widely popular and bipartisan. That’s why Big Tech and their allies spent a combined $230 million on TV ads and lobbying to kill off antitrust. When these bills come up for a vote, they pass by wide margins,” he said in an email.

The Chamber of Progress’s push for more help arrives after tech giants including Meta, Google and Amazon laid off or announced plans to lay off a combined 41,000 employees. 

Kovacevich underscored the push for Biden to address growth in the tech sector by saying the “consequences of these layoffs” impact the broader communities during the “period of time it takes displaced workers to find new jobs.”

“Put simply, laid off tech workers mean less business for local coffee shops, restaurants, and furniture stores,” he wrote. 

The plan should target investments in emerging technology, such as autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence and biotechnology. 

Tags Adam Kovacevich Alphabet Amazon antitrust Apple Biden big tech Google Joe Biden Meta State of the Union

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