New Democrat Coalition Focuses on Leading on Global Tech, Cybersecurity in 2020 Policy Priorities

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The New Democrat Coalition (NDC) released its 2020 policy priorities on Feb. 28. The priorities cover a wide breadth of issues, but there were a handful focused on the technology sector.

“The NDC is focused on solving the challenges of the 21st century, looking at old problems through a new lens and advocating forward-looking policies that expand opportunities, promote innovation, keep Americans safe, and reinvigorate government,” the Coalition said in a statement.

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One of the NDC’s top priorities is to “lead on technology and innovation.” NDC said that Congress must “increase Federal investments to support research and development to ensure the [United States] continues to lead on the innovation and production of cutting-edge technology.” The priority also addressed the role of Federal regulation, saying Congress should “exact Federal policies that foster the ethical development of advanced technologies that protect the interests of individuals, including consumers and workers.” NDC’s statement stressed that developing and building next-generation technology in the United States will create jobs, but that it must be done in a way that doesn’t “compromise American values or national security.”

During 2020, the Coalition is looking to “secure the digital economy” by “enshrining American values of innovation, transparency, and individual privacy.” In its statement, NDC said the United States needs to “invest in cybersecurity capabilities, standards, resilience, and response for critical infrastructure, the private sector, local governments, and more.” Along the same vein, the NDC said that the United States needs to “engage with its global counterparts to develop rules of cyber engagement and define acceptable practices, as well as those that constitute an act of war or aggression.”

Given that 2020 is an election year, it is unsurprising that the NDC would have priorities regarding voting. Namely, the NDC is looking to “restore trust in elections.” Given the number of House hearings on election security, this priority is unsurprising. NDC noted that in addition to campaign finance reform and improving access to voting, Congress should “protect our elections from foreign interference.” Undoubtedly this priority will include a focus on hardening election infrastructure from cyberattacks by foreign adversaries.

The NDC also noted a focus on closing skills and opportunity gaps, which will likely involve a heavy focus on closing the cybersecurity workforce shortage, promoting STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education, and an investment in broadband.

In its priority list, the NDC zeroed in on modernizing the nation’s infrastructure. The statement said the Colation is looking to “modernize and expand our nation’s infrastructure for the 21st century.” The NDC explained that this will include “embracing new technologies,” and developing “a transportation and infrastructure plan inclusive of non-traditional assets like public facilities, broadband, and energy grids.”

Kate Polit
About Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk's Assistant Copy & Production Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.

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