Congress leaves tech issues on ice

Congress soon will hit the campaign trail, leaving behind several brewing IT issues.

Among this Congress' tech-friendly accomplishments is the law President Clinton signed last week that will increase the number of skilled technical workers allowed into the United States under the H-1B visa program.

And earlier this month, Congress and Clinton passed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-Sign), ushering in the use of digital signatures.

But several high-profile issues have been left sitting on the table for lawmakers returning in January:

    * Internet taxation. The current ban on new taxes expires next year. Despite efforts by the Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce, no political consensus has been reached.

    * Internet privacy. Consumers are worried about online security, and some vendors are warming to the idea of new laws. Several bills are pending.

    * Tech training tax break. A bill seeking credits for corporations to build up the sagging tech workforce remains stalled.

    * Research and development tax credit. The current corporate break lasts only for a five-year period.

    * Tech education initiatives. The New Millennium Classrooms Act supported by industry would put more technical resources in schools. This bill passed the Senate.

Nancy Weil, a correspondent for the IDG News Service, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2000 InfoWorld, International Data Group Inc. All rights reserved. Distributed by IDG News Service.

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