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Silicon Valley stays quiet as Washington implodes

Patrick Thibodeau | Oct. 16, 2013
Tech lobbyists offer three post-crisis political outcomes for the tech industry

The current mess in Washington has tech lobbyists now trying to figure out what happens after the shutdown and default issues are resolved. The predictions of several lobbyists, all speaking on background, follow.

Republican moderates emerge stronger, and that helps tech

If U.S. House Republican moderates can prevail and overcome Tea Party wing's shutdown demands, they may feel ennobled. They could become willing to fend off Tea Party challenges on issues important to tech, mostly immigration reform.

The biggest risk for moderates are primary challenges from Tea Party-backed candidates.

A damaged Republican brand may benefit tech

If polls show Republicans as the clear losers in the crisis, GOP legislators may feel a need to rack up some positive wins. Giving tech some of things it wants on policy issues may be one way of doing it.

The acrimony persists and tech gets nothing

It remains possible that the fiscal crisis could end badly.

A default sets the stage for economic upheaval. Even if a default is averted, the outlook for fixing problems important to tech may be poor. Relations between members of the two parties may well deteriorate to such a point that little can be accomplished.

The 113th Congress is on path to be the least productive since 1999, when measured by the number of substantive, non-ceremonial bills approved, according to Pew Research. That lack of productivity could continue until the mid-term elections.

The tech industry doesn't like dealing with Washington, but spends mightily for the privilege. The industry's lobbying spending grew from $40 million in 1998, when Rodgers gave his speech, to $133 million last year, according the Center for Responsive Politics.



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