GOP senators back tech execs

Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force

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"Wiring Congress"

Senate Republicans promised visiting technology executives "minimal regulations and minimal taxes" and help on problems ranging from worker shortages to intellectual property protection to keep the technology sector of the economy thriving.

Maintaining that high-tech companies are the driving force of the nation's economy, members of the Senate Republican High-Tech Task Force said they would work for such industry benefits as a permanent research-and-development tax credit and minimal government interference.

"It is quite clear that excessive government intervention would inflict serious damage to the economic advances of the information revolution," said Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah). "We must pursue policies that prevent this," he said as the task force unveiled its agenda for the 107th Congress.

Freshman Sen. George Allen (R-Va.), who was chosen to replace Bennett as head of the task force this year, said the high-tech industry should be "limited only by their own creativity, imagination and ingenuity."

Allen told a dozen assembled tech executives that the task force would serve as "your portal to the United States Senate."

Following the lead of their party chief, President Bush, the task force members made education a top priority. "Without a workforce fully capable in math, science and computing skills, our competitiveness is at risk," they said.

Other task force priorities include:

Protecting Internet privacy and e-commerce. Protecting copyrighted materials from piracy and promoting legal digital means of distributing copyrighted works. Supporting tax and regulatory policies that encourage the deployment of broadband technology. Enhancing free trade. Improving Internet security and combating cyberterrorism. Keeping government out of competition with electronic businesses. Promoting "digital decency" through private-sector self-policing.

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