In the absence of attention to critical New Economy issues, the New Democrat Coalition today releases “e-genda 2003,” its fifth comprehensive technology policy agenda. The New Democrat Coalition is committed to continuing to lead the way in promoting policies to grow and expand the New Economy and to ensure that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed in it.

"We need a strategy that ensures America leads in the New Economy and that promotes job growth in this critical sector," said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), NDC co-chair. "To do so, we have to encourage investment in new companies and new technologies. Our e-genda lays out a plan for doing just that."

Throughout the late 1990s, America experienced unprecedented growth and prosperity largely brought about by technology and the New Economy. But in 2002, for the first time since 1995, the number of high-tech jobs – some of the best-paid jobs in our country – decreased. In fact, since President Bush took office, high-tech jobs have decreased by almost 8 percent. Under the Bush Administration, New Economy companies not only are slow to hire workers, they are scaling back investment and R&D at an alarming pace. From 1993 to 2000, venture investment grew by 59 percent – creating jobs and new companies and making our nation the leader in the New Economy. Since 2001, there has been a 55 percent decline in venture investment – hurting our economy today but perhaps even worse, seriously jeopardizing it for the future.

“New Democrats have been advocating for meaningful growth and investment in the New Economy long before today's release, but right now, it’s more critical than ever. Without leadership on the part of the president or Congress, we won’t see a real reversal in the slide in the New Economy,” said NDC Communications Coordinator Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-Ore.). “With our e-genda, we’re taking the first steps to improve the situation.”

“The New Democrat Coalition’s e-genda provides fresh ideas and practical policies that can reboot America’s technology sector and recharge our nation’s economic engine,” said NDC co-chair Rep. Jim Davis (D-Fla.).

One of the items contained in the e-genda released today, is the New Democrat Coalition’s endorsement of the permanent moratorium on some Internet-taxes, H.R. 49, which goes before the House Judiciary Committee today for mark-up.

“New Democrat policies represent the best combination of reasonable, sustainable economic development and social responsibility,” said Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii). “These initiatives will implement what mainstream America seeks.”

The e-genda argues for a strong homeland security program, based on effective organization and oversight of the new Department of Homeland Security and the appropriate use of information sharing and technology to prevent, deter, and respond to terrorist attacks. Homeland Security expert Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-Calif.) said “the New Democrats' plan will draw on the technology and expertise of the Bay Area, Silicon Valley and beyond to strengthen our homeland security. It's a positive step that the New Democrats are encouraging the Department of Homeland Security to tap into the wealth of technology at our national defense labs. And, I am optimistic that our push to get the government to develop a coordinated procurement strategy will help ensure common-sense buying, maximum interoperability and further stimulate economic recovery of the tech sector.”

“With deficits as far as the eye can see and an increasing jobless rate, the e-genda is a roadmap for job creation and the technologies we need to secure our homeland,” concurred Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.).

New Democrats believe that issues like education are also important to the growth of the New Economy: “In order to help all citizens be full participants in the New Economy, it is critical we recognize the opportunities of the high-tech economy and pursue policies that facilitate it,” said NDC co-chair Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wisc.). “As a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, I am proud our e-genda recognizes the necessity of investing in job training and education giving our children and our workers the tools to compete in the global marketplace.”

The New Democrat Coalition believes in a 21st century plan for growth that will:

  • Invest in education and a skilled workforce so that all Americans have the opportunity to succeed in the New Economy;
  • Foster the digital economy and digital government so that productivity and technology continue to be the engine of our economic growth and that Americans can participate in their democracy;
  • Promote innovation by ensuring our laws reflect the realities of the New Economy to unleash the potential to improve people’s lives and open doors to the future;
  • Promote global leadership to open overseas markets to American goods and services while addressing labor standards, environmental issues and responsible investment policies in the world economy; and
  • Enhance homeland security by creating public-private partnerships, utilizing technology, and creating a more streamlined, coordinated and accountable government.

Founded in 1997, the New Democrat Coalition (NDC) is a group of centrist Democrats that has quickly grown to more than 70 members. Since its creation, two-thirds of Democrats elected to the House have joined the NDC, making it the largest and one of the most influential caucuses in the House.

For a full copy of e-genda 2003, visit the New Democrat Coalition online at: www.house.gov/adamsmith/NDC/ndc.html