The Issues

Tools to Succeed in the 21st Century


Every community in America should benefit from technology and innovation. But too many places across the country are being left behind by rapid technological change, automation and A.I., and too many families are left wondering if they have a place in the economy of tomorrow. Americans deserve better.

In 2007, House Democrats put forth an historic and ambitious Innovation Agenda to ensure America’s continued position as the most competitive and forward-thinking nation in the world. There were 22 planks included in the Innovation Agenda and, of these, 21 have been translated into legislative provisions that have been signed into law.

Now, Democrats are working to build on this extraordinary success and renew America’s promise of prosperity with A Better Deal for the American people that gives our children and all working Americans the Tools to Succeed in the 21st Century. This bold initiative will help America pioneer the next transformational breakthroughs in clean energy, modern medicine, advanced manufacturing, smart transportation and strategic defense, and raise the standard of living for all Americans.


WHAT DEMOCRATS ARE DOING

America – the leader, the strong, the entrepreneurial – it is who we are. We can and must get back to what we do best and what makes us great: pioneer the next transformational inventions and breakthroughs that will raise the standard of living of all Americans – in clean energy, modern medicine, advanced manufacturing, smart transportation and strategic defense.
Now is the time to renew America’s promise of prosperity by accelerating these new discoveries and inventions, and ensuring that the benefits of our progress are shared by all. That is why A Better Deal for the American people will help to build an economy that gives our children and all working Americans the tools to succeed in the 21st Century.

Specifically, Democrats will:

  • Invest in America’s Workers
  • Pioneer Future Frontiers
  • Modernize Government
Invest in America’s Workers

Millions of Americans are now working in jobs that didn’t exist ten years ago, and, ten years from now, millions will be working in new industries that can’t be imagined today. House Democrats are focused on creating a workforce with skills and technical experience that are second to none. Training and lifelong learning are keys to success for every American to harness the rapid changes in our economy.

America can create more good-paying American jobs, prevent U.S. jobs from moving overseas, support workers’ rights and provide employers a well-equipped, diverse workforce, if we make the right choices now.

To achieve these goals, we will:

Strengthen Education
  • Double pre-K-12 public education investments in STEAM in five years; target inclusive programs that reflect our diverse student population and close the digital gap in communities with high unemployment;
  • Connect millions of American workers – including our veterans and high school students – to good jobs by doubling federal investments in work-based learning programs, such as registered apprenticeships, and paid on-the-job training by launching a national network of partnerships among businesses, career technical programs, public schools and community colleges;
  • Empower American workers to pursue affordable and meaningful degrees, credentials or certifications that lead to a higher wage;
Guarantee Workplace Benefits
  • Support those engaged in alternative work arrangements (on-demand and gig-economy work, freelancing, on-call, and temporary work) by guaranteeing worker protections and creating access to workplace through the creation of portable benefits, owned by the worker and not tied to traditional employment;
  • Reward the creativity and productivity of employees by creating tax incentives that allow employees to share in their company’s profits and stock appreciation;
Improve Workplace Culture
  • Increase efforts to promote workforce diversity and inclusion by combatting discrimination and harassment at every level of employment in every industry, both public and private sector;
Fix Our Broken Immigration System
  • Pass long overdue comprehensive immigration reform to protect DREAMers, retain highly-skilled graduates and overhaul visa programs.

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Pioneer Future Frontiers

America’s long-term economic leadership depends on the investments in basic research we make today. America must break new ground on the frontiers of science that will power our economy and maintain America’s competitive edge in world commerce and raise all Americans’ standard of living. We must secure our nation in dangerous times, and ensure that America is the unrivaled technology superpower of the 21st century.

To achieve these goals, we will:

Surge Investment
  • Double our public investment in scientific achievement in five years, and direct agencies to develop strategic plans to ensure American leadership in new industries that will create jobs, improve health outcomes and strengthen national security;
  • Promote a decentralized, collaborative research and career ecosystem among government agencies, national labs, and universities, including Minority Serving Institutions and community colleges, new and established regional Innovation Hubs. the private sector and local communities;
Rebuild America’s Infrastructure
  • Modernize America’s infrastructure using the latest smart, efficient and green technology to expand mass transit, build higher-speed rail, and repair roads and bridges as we prepare for an all-electric transportation system; guarantee the safety of our drinking water systems; improve and strengthen our electricity grid; and ensure affordable high-speed broadband access to rural America echoing our Better Deal to Rebuild America.
Advance Broadband Access & Privacy
  • Adopt an Internet users’ Bill of Rights to restore internet privacy rules; protect an open internet through strong, enforceable net neutrality rules at the Federal Communications Commission; and ensure nationwide, competitive broadband options for consumers and small businesses; expanding on our Better Deal for Universal High-Speed Internet to bring broadband to every neighborhood, school and farm.
Accelerate Incentives for Discovery
  • Focus on generating energy and growing jobs in our communities by creating permanent, technology-neutral tax incentives to spur energy efficiency and the generation and storage of affordable, reliable and clean energy.
  • Reform the tax code to incentivize private sector research and development and to encourage the long-term, on-going investments that can lead to major discoveries;
  • Expand ability of startups and early-stage businesses to access the benefits of the research and development tax credit.

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Modernize Government

Government cannot rely on outdated systems to meet today’s rapidly changing needs and critical challenges. Federal, state and local programs need to be reformed to provide more effective and responsive solutions. It shouldn’t be hard for you to find information from the government, and it shouldn’t be hard for the government to provide you with the information you need.
The process for federal contracts, grants, benefits, data collection, acquisition and loan applications must be easily available and understandable to tomorrow’s entrepreneurs. Startups and small businesses require access to capital and essential investments in federal agencies.

To achieve these goals, we will:

Upgrade and Secure Computer Systems
  • Demand comprehensive policies to protect against cyberattacks and malicious computer hacking from countries and individuals;
  • Update antiquated computer systems and upgrade to technologies that are both secure and allow for better ways for the public to use and access information.
Improve Service and Training
  • Bring innovative private-sector know-how to the federal government and create better platforms to access open and standardized government data;
  • Reestablish the Office of Technology Assessment to provide Congress with expert analysis of complex scientific and technical issues.
  • Require all government programs to follow Buy America product rules;
Expand Opportunity
  • Increase technical and training assistance to small businesses including expanded outreach to women, veteran, and minority–owned businesses, and require all federal contractors to disclose diversity, harassment and inclusionary policies;
  • Recognize the unique nature of small and micro-businesses through targeted tax relief, contracting opportunities, and benefits that allow these engines of innovation and job growth to flourish.
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