Silicon Valley’s Washington problem

The tech industry is becoming more frustrated with its poor track record in Washington, The Hill writes.

Silicon Valley’s checks haven’t been buying them many bills,” says The Hill’s Julian Hattem. 

President Barack Obama’s decision to delay executive action on immigration reform until after the mid-term elections is just the latest tech industry policy position to hit a wall.

Last week, Peter Muller, Intel’s director of immigration policy, wrote an op-ed in the Mercury News suggesting that Obama’s executive action “should seize the opportunity to improve the legal immigration system that governs how highly skilled, foreign-born workers are employed in this country.”

The Hill notes other tech industry efforts this year that have not resulted in success, such as patent and NSA surveillance reforms. In May, I pointed out the same pattern in a column.

Frustration with Washington gridlock is not confined to the the tech industry, of course, but as The Hill points out, Silicon Valley has things others don’t – money, access and a popular public image.

Lawmakers continue to travel to the Valley for fundraisers and to visit firms. Take a look at how tech spending on lobbying and campaigns has increased over the years, as compiled by OpenSecrets.org.

And the tech industry continues to travel to Washington to make its case. Silicon Valley’s influence in Washington appears to be increasing with the recent appointment of Megan Smith, a Google executive, to be the U.S. chief technology officer.

But getting results is elusive, Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, told The Hill:

I think that the most disappointing and frustrating part is that the street cred that members get from spending time from tech doesn’t translate into policies that enable those innovations…There is no doubt that policymakers love to spend time with our companies and our CEOs. They are not only rocket scientists; in many respects they’re also rock stars.

The frustration may create an opening for Republicans, as the Los Angeles Times reports.

Evidence? Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, was at Burning Man last week. 

Above: Capitol Building. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT)

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: , , , ,

 

Share this Post



 
 
 
 
 
css.php