The Tech Industry Visited Capitol Hill, And They Had Something To Say About Trump

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Some of the world’s leading tech companies visited Capitol Hill Wednesday, where they exposed members of Congress to new technologies and services in hopes of highlighting the importance of protecting American innovation.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), a leading industry trade group that represents policy interests for tech companies and entrepreneurs, hosted members of Congress including California Republican Congressman Darrell Issa and Virginia Republican Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, to highlight issues like patent reform, tax reform and immigration.


“I think we have a lot in common with President Trump and what he is trying to accomplish,” Jeff Joseph, senior vice-president of communications for CTA, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. Joseph’s assertion goes against many of the media narratives that pits the tech industry against the administration.

“There is a lot of opportunity, we want to grow the economy, we want to create jobs, and we want to promote innovation and we agree on that,” Joseph said before listing off infrastructure, tax reform and regulatory reform as just a few of the issues the industry and Trump can work on together.

Companies including Google, Snapchat and Samsung, showed off emerging tech like virtual reality and unmanned aerial systems to policymakers inside a reserved space at the Rayburn House office building.

Part of CTA’s message was to highlight how tech policy can transform society and save lives. “It’s not just about all the fun, cool things we can do with technology, it’s about how we are changing the world and bettering the world,” Joseph told TheDCNF. “To be able to continue to do that, we need the right public policies in place,” he asserted.

Joseph spoke highly of Jared Kushner, who was recently tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the White House Office of American Innovation. The term “innovation” is used frequently among CTA members, and the group said it looked forward to working with Kushner and the newly established office.

“He [Kushner] certainly carries a great reputation, and clearly the president has a lot of trust with him,” Joseph said.

Republican members of Congress sounded off on the importance of protecting America’s role as a leader in tech innovation and entrepreneurship. Democratic members were approached by TheDCNF, but declined to comment.

“That’s where our high paying jobs are, and that’s where we leverage the rest of the world’s skills,” Issa told TheDCNF. “Today, products are made all over the world, but it’s American innovation that creates the wealth we enjoy.”

“One of the challenges that America has, is that out of 1.2 million people who come here as immigrants every year – and a host of temporary workers – very very few are actually based on the merit of those skills, where other countries use a point system, bringing the best ad the brightest,” Issa explained, in defense of a merit-based immigration system.

“America needs to do the same thing, whether it’s H1B or other immigration systems, we need to give a preference to those who come with the capability of adding to our economy, at least for a portion,” he said.

Comstock told TheDCNF that the United States must continue being the innovators. “We need to provide great policies to make sure that these jobs are flourishing in our country,” Comstock said, alluding to issues like patent reform, which is a top priority for the industry.

“We need to be the innovators, we need to provide the great policies to make sure that these jobs our flourishing in our country,” Comstock said, highlighting smart cities and connected cars as tangible examples of tech policy that is impacting Americans in a very real way.

(Editor’s Note: Ted Goodman previously interned for the Consumer Technology Association)

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