US must maintain an environment where its tech sector can flourish

The technology industry in America is a major driving force and job-creating engine of our economy. In order to grow our national economy, we must ensure this vital sector is protected and able to flourish. Just two weeks ago, the House Republican Technology Working Group, which I chair, presented its agenda, which focuses on the issues that will help America maintain and expand its competitive edge in the technology sector while creating jobs to fuel economic growth.

The Technology Working Group, which has been tasked by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) with keeping House leadership and key committee leaders informed about issues important to the technology community and encouraging policies that will promote the success and competitiveness of the technology community, released a list of core policies that expands on the previously released Republican pro-growth jobs plan by focusing on the key technology issues that will have a significant impact on economic growth and job creation.


Specifically, the Working Group will promote policies to protect American intellectual property. America is the most innovative nation on earth, due in part to the strong intellectual property protections our Founders included in the Constitution and Congress’s commitment to keeping those protections strong and current. One of the Technology Working Group’s priorities will be working to enact patent reform to modernize our patent laws to meet the challenges of the modern economy, which is much different than it was the last time comprehensive changes to the patent laws were enacted. The House Judiciary Committee has reported out a strong patent bill, and we will work to see it signed into law. We will also work to protect all forms of intellectual property from theft overseas, which undermines the incentives for American inventors, authors and creators to continue to innovate.

The Working Group will promote policies to ensure spectrum availability and efficiency. Congress should work to expand availability of spectrum for both consumers and public safety while also examining the current use of spectrum to ensure it is being used as efficiently as possible.

The Working Group also intends to support efforts to protect the U.S. from cyber-attacks. We will work to enact strong cybersecurity protections that focus on increasing protections in an innovative manner that allows for dynamic solutions to this dynamic problem. Protecting cyberspace is vital to securing critical assets like telecommunications, energy, water, healthcare, transportation and emergency and financial services. 

Another key component of the Working Group’s agenda is promoting free and fair trade. In order to increase the competitiveness of American companies, Congress must pass pending free trade agreements to expand market access for domestic products.

The Technology Working Group believes access and retention of the world’s best and brightest workers is key to our economic recovery. Congress must examine current education programs to make sure they are operating efficiently. We will also examine current visa and immigration laws to make sure we attract and retain the best and brightest minds from around the world.

Additionally, we intend to focus on policies that update the tax code to ensure job growth. We will promote tax reforms that put Americans back to work, simplify the code to lower rates for families and businesses, and encourage companies to invest domestically. Business owners across the country want to invest in their firms and hire new workers. Congress must ensure that our overly complicated tax code doesn’t stand in their way. 

The Technology Working Group will also promote policies that reduce unnecessary red tape and regulation. Regulatory and tax burdens oftentimes tie the hands of business. Congress must focus on policies that allow businesses to use their resources to innovate, not force businesses to use them to comply with government red tape.

House Republicans are committed to creating an environment where the technology sector can flourish. In working to advance these and other technology policies, we will ensure that the U.S. continues to lead the world in innovation and that the technology sector in America remains a driving force and job-creating engine of our economy.

Goodlatte (R-Va.) is chairman of the House Republican Technology Working Group.