Friday, May 2, 2008

Technology Issues Update from Cong. Adam Smith

Smith Sponsors STEM-Green Card Bill to Help Address High Tech Workforce Needs

Congressman Adam Smith signed on as an original cosponsor of a bill that Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren will soon introduce to help international students get a green card if they earn a master’s degree or a Ph.D. in Science, Technology, Engineering or Math (STEM) from a U.S. university, and get a job offer in their STEM field from a U.S. employer. Specifically, this legislation would allow an employer to offer a U.S.-based job in a STEM field to an international student holding an advanced degree from a U.S. university and file a green card petition for that employee.

“Our current H-1B visa system isn’t meeting the needs of employers. It makes sense to allow for a path to permanent legal status, instead of adding these students into the H-1B lottery. I will work hard to promote this bill,” Adam said.

Smith Urges Administration to Enforce EU Duty-Free Information Technology Agreement

Adam and several House colleagues will send a letter to President Bush this week urging enforcement of the World Trade Organization’s Information Technology Agreement. Adam and colleagues sent a similar letter to United States Trade Representative Susan Schwab last summer.

The European Union (EU) began adding tariffs on a variety of high-tech products that have enjoyed duty-free treatment under the Information Technology Agreement (ITA). This EU decision could seriously undermine the value of the ITA, a key World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement that spurred worldwide innovation, productivity, trade and investment.
Since its signing a decade ago, the ITA catalyzed growth in world trade – expanding access to IT products that help to power the global economy and facilitating worldwide digitalization. The products covered by the ITA include office productivity equipment (e.g., printers, fax machines, computers), telecommunications equipment, electronic components, semiconductors and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Unfortunately, the EU placed new tariffs on imports of newer versions of ITA products on the grounds that additional functions provided on these products require customs reclassification. The EU's actions undermine the spirit and letter of the ITA, which requires its 69 signatories to bind and eliminate duties on covered products wherever they are classified.

Smith Supports Investment in America Act, Making Permanent the Research & Development Tax Credit

Adam and several colleagues sent a letter urging House Leadership to bring H.R. 2138, the Investment in America Act of 2007, to the House floor for prompt consideration. This bipartisan legislation will increase the alternative simplified credit for research expenses and make permanent the research and development (R&D) tax credit that plays an integral role in enhancing long-term economic growth and maintaining our nation’s strong position as a global innovator.

At a time of a sluggish economic output and increasing globalization, America’s prosperity depends more than ever on its capacity to innovate. For decades, our nation’s leadership in research has led to discoveries that dramatically improved living standards around the world, gave rise to new industries, and created millions of new jobs.

Adam believes we must help America’s companies compete against overseas firms by supporting a lasting R&D tax credit.

Smith Votes for Small Business Innovation Research & Technology Transfer Reauthorization

To help small businesses grow the economy and make them an even bigger player in technology innovation, the House last week passed H.R. 5819, the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act, to improve the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program.

“Dozens of Puget Sound-area small businesses have benefited from these two critical programs, which help bolster the hi-tech innovation our region is known for,” Adam said.

The SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act extends for a period of two years the Federal government's largest small business research and development programs, notably increasing funding for small research firms by half a billion dollars. The legislation also places an emphasis on research on alternative fuels and orphan diseases.

The measure ensures that small businesses receive these research and technology grants in a timely manner, expands commercialization to get the small businesses’ revolutionary technology to the market, increases competition for these small business awards to produce the greatest return for taxpayers, and allows venture capital-backed small businesses to participate in the program.

The legislation also establishes an initiative to increase participation from small firms owned by veterans, women and minorities and those located in rural areas, to diversify the program and increase competition for these important awards.

Director of DARPA Set to Speak at Smith's Ninth District Day
You’re Invited!

Ninth District Day is an opportunity for constituents and community leaders to gather for a half-day forum in Washington D.C. The event is being held Thursday, May 15th, from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Capitol Hill in the Rayburn House Office Building, Rooms B338 and B339.

To learn more about this year’s speakers or to register, visit:

If you’d like to share your opinion or ask a question about technology issues, please contact Linda Danforth, District Director, at 253.896.3782 or

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