John Kerry on Technology
Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President
Reallocate spectrum for wireless phone networks
The potential for Wi-Fi networks and other technologies that could operate in unlicensed spectrum is limitless. However, our spectrum rules are designed on the notion that spectrum is a finite, scarce resource.
Kerry will work to make more spectrum available for experimentation with new, more efficient technologies & radios. He also believes that the Federal government could reallocate spectrum and make it available for third generation wireless phone networks.
Source: Campaign website, JohnKerry.com, “Issues”
Mar 21, 2004
Empower Americans by making Internet access universal
As more commerce and service occurs over the Internet, Kerry believes that we need to make Internet access available to all families. The Rural Electric Administration brought isolated areas out of the darkness. Similarly a visionary Federal government
will build a bridge across the digital divide and bring the promise of broadband technology to rural and urban America. Kerry supports providing a tax credit to telecommunications companies that deploy broadband in rural and under-served parts of America
Source: Campaign website, JohnKerry.com, “Issues”
Mar 21, 2004
Invest in high-speed commuter rail & double-dip benefits
Top spur the economy in the short term, I’d accelerate investments in infrastructure projects, which immediately generate jobs while laying foundations for future growth.
Wherever possible, we should aim at double- or triple-dip investments that spur the economy, increase future productivity, and improve our quality of life.
What better time to get moving no projects like high-speed rail for commuters and for profitable intercity routes in places including the Boston-Washington corridor and a Portland-Seattle route?
Why should we continue to lag behind France and Germany in transportation technology?
Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 77
Oct 1, 2003
Member of “Digital Dozen” of tech-savvy legislators
We can get enormous multiple payoff by investing in the technological infrastructure of our information age:These issues are not just a recent sideline for me;
they’ve been a big focus of my efforts in the Senate. I’m proud that Business Week magazine named me one of its digital dozen, the twelve most tech-savvy members of Congress. I was the only Senate Democrat to make that list.
Source: A Call to Service, by John Kerry, p. 90-91
Oct 1, 2003
- Making permanent the federal tax credit for research and development that helped supply much of the capital for the tech boom of the 1990s
- Expand high-speed Internet access to insure that inner cities and rural areas become fully wired and to expand e-commerce
- A tax credit for companies that set up broadband networks in inner cities, just as I earlier sponsored the e-rate law that
finances the wiring of inner-city schools for the Internet
- Enact digital signature legislation that makes it possible to execute secure and private authorizations of e-commerce transactions.
Voted YES on $23B instead of $4.9B for waterway infrastructure.
Vote on overriding Pres. Bush's veto. The bill reauthorizes the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA): to provide for the conservation and development of water and related resources, to authorize the Secretary of the Army to construct various projects for improvements to rivers and harbors of the United States. The bill authorizes flood control, navigation, and environmental projects and studies by the Army Corps of Engineers. Also authorizes projects for navigation, ecosystem or environmental restoration, and hurricane, flood, or storm damage reduction in 23 states including Louisiana.
Veto message from President Bush:
This bill lacks fiscal discipline. I fully support funding for water resources projects that will yield high economic and environmental returns. Each year my budget has proposed reasonable and responsible funding, including $4.9 billion for 2008, to support the Army Corps of Engineers' main missions. However, this authorization bill costs over $23 billion. This is not fiscally responsible, particularly when local communities have been waiting for funding for projects already in the pipeline. The bill's excessive authorization for over 900 projects and programs exacerbates the massive backlog of ongoing Corps construction projects, which will require an additional $38 billion in future appropriations to complete. This bill does not set priorities. I urge the Congress to send me a fiscally responsible bill that sets priorities.
Reference: Veto override on Water Resources Development Act;
Bill Veto override on H.R. 1495
; vote number 2007-406
on Nov 8, 2007
Voted NO on restoring $550M in funding for Amtrak for 2007.
An amendment to provide an additional $550,000,000 for Amtrak for fiscal year 2007. Voting YEA would increase Amtrak funding from $900 million to $1.45 billion. Voting NAY would keep Amtrak funding at $900 million.
Proponents of the bill say to vote YEA because:
- [In my state], Philadelphia's 30th Street station is the second busiest train station nationally, with over 3.7 million boarding a year. And 3,000 people are employed by Amtrak in Pennsylvania. Amtrak and the health of Amtrak is important.
- Last year the Senate transportation bill had $1.45 billion for Amtrak, which is obviously more than the $900 million in the current budget proposal. I am offering an amendment to increase that funding from the $900 million which is in the bill right now to the $1.45 billion level and adding $550 million.
- I support funding through the section 920 account [without a tax increase]. We have seen that without raising the cap or without raising taxes, the Senate has been able to
come up with a robust number for Amtrak which I will support within the context of a responsible budget.
- We have spent less money on Amtrak in the last 35 years than we will on highways in this year alone. And highways don't pay for themselves, even with the gas tax. Neither does mass transit, either in this country or anywhere else in the world. But we subsidize them because they improve the quality of our lives.
- We have never provided the kind of commitment to Amtrak that we have for other modes of transportation, and this amendment will be an important step to getting Amtrak off the starvation budgets that it has subsisted on for far too long.
Opponents of the bill say to vote NAY because:
Reference: Santorum amendment to Transportation funding bill;
Bill S.Amdt.3015 to S.Con.Res.83
; vote number 2006-052
on Mar 15, 2006
- The problem with that is there is no money in the section 920 account. If we want to talk about "funny money" financing, that is it--taking money from an account that has no money. This whole budget takes money we don't have. The result is we keep running up the debt.
Voted YES on Internet sales tax moratorium.
Vote against allowing states to require companies who do business in their state solely by phone, mail, or the Internet to collect state sales taxes. [Current law does not require companies to collect sales taxes where the customer is out of state]
; vote number 1998-296
on Oct 2, 1998
Voted YES on telecomm deregulation.
Deregulation of the telecommunications industry.
Status: Telecommunications Competition and Deregulation Act of 1995 Y)91; N)5; NV)3
Reference: Conference Report on S. 625, the;
Bill S. 652
; vote number 1996-8
on Feb 1, 1996
Chief information officer to digitize federal government.
Kerry signed the manifesto, "A New Agenda for the New Decade":
The strong anti-government sentiments of the early 1990s have subsided, but most Americans still think government is too bureaucratic, too centralized, and too inefficient.
In Washington and around the country, a second round of “reinventing government” initiatives should be launched to transform public agencies into performance-based organizations focused on bottom-line results. Many public services can be delivered on a competitive basis among public and private entities with accountability for results. Public-private partnerships should become the rule, not the exception, in delivering services. Civic and voluntary groups, including faith-based organizations, should play a larger role in addressing America’s social problems.
When the federal government provides grants to states and localities to perform public services, it should give the broadest possible administrative flexibility while demanding and rewarding specific results.
Government information and services at every level should be thoroughly “digitized,” enabling citizens to conduct business with public agencies online.
Goals for 2010
Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC8 on Aug 1, 2000
- Require public agencies to measure results and publish information on performance.
- Consolidate narrow federal-state grants into broad performance-based grants that offer greater flexibility in return for greater accountability for results.
- Make it possible for citizens to conduct all business with government online.
- Create a chief information officer to drive the digitization of the federal government.
Promote internet via Congressional Internet Caucus.
Kerry is a member of the Congressional Internet Caucus:
Founded in the spring of 1996, the Congressional Internet Caucus is a bipartisan group of over 150 members of the House and Senate working to educate their colleagues about the promise and potential of the Internet. The Caucus also encourages Members to utilize the Internet in communications with constituents and supports efforts to put more government documents online. The Internet Caucus Advisory Committee and the Internet Education Foundation host regular events and forums for policymakers, the press, and the public to discuss important Internet-related policy issues.
Membership in the Congressional Internet Caucus is open to any Member of Congress who pledges support for the following goals:
Source: Congressional Internet Caucus web site, NetCaucus.org 01-CIC1 on Jan 1, 2001
- Promoting growth and advancement of the Internet
- Providing a bicameral, bipartisan forum for Internet concerns to be raised
- Promoting the education of Members of Congress and their staffs about the Internet
- Promoting commerce and free flow of information on the Internet
- Advancing the United States' world leadership in the digital world
- Maximizing the openness of and participation in government by the people.
$500 tax credit for each employee who telecommutes.
Kerry introduced the Teleworking Advancement Act
Amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow a tax credit to employers of up to $500 annually for each employee participating in an employer-sponsored telework arrangement. Allows a tax credit for telework equipment expenses.
Directs the Administrator of the Small Business Administration to conduct a pilot program promoting telecommuting among small business employers, with special outreach to individuals with disabilities.
Source: Bill sponsored by 4 Senators 01-S1856 on Dec 19, 2001
Fund nanotechnology research & development.
Kerry co-sponsored the 21st Century Nanotechnology Research and Development Act
Requires the President to implement a National Nanotechnology Program to:H.R.766 is the corresponding House bill. Became Public Law No: 108-153.
Source: Bill sponsored by 18 Senators and 27 Reps 03-S189 on Jan 16, 2003
- establish the goals, priorities, and metrics for evaluation for Federal nanotechnology research, development, and other activities;
- invest in Federal research and development programs in nanotechnology and related sciences to achieve those goals; and
- provide for interagency coordination of Federal nanotechnology activities undertaken pursuant to the Program.
Facilitate nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services.
Kerry co-sponsored facilitating nationwide 2-1-1 phone line for human services
A bill to facilitate nationwide availability of 2-1-1 telephone service for information and referral on human services & volunteer services. Congress makes the following findings:
- The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
- 2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
- There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
- Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
- A national cost-benefit analysis estimates a net value to society of a national 2-1-1 system approaching $130,000,000 in the first year alone.
- While 69% of the population has access to 2-1-1 telephone service from a land line in
41 States, inadequate funding prevents access to that telephone service throughout each of the States.
- 2-1-1 telephone service facilitates the availability of a single repository where comprehensive data on all community services is collected & maintained.
Introductory statement by Sponsor:
Sen. CLINTON: In the immediate aftermath of the devastation of September 11, most people did not know where to turn for information about their loved ones. Fortunately for those who knew about it, 2-1-1 was already operating in Connecticut, and it was critical in helping identify the whereabouts of victims, connecting frightened children with their parents, providing information on terrorist suspects, and linking ready volunteers with victims.
Every single American should have a number they can call to cut through the chaos of an emergency. That number is 2-1-1. It's time to make our citizens and our country safer by making this resource available nationwide.
Source: Calling for 2-1-1 Act (S.211 and H.R.211) 07-HR211 on Jan 9, 2007
Permanent ban on state & local taxation of Internet access.
Kerry co-sponsored permanently banning state & local taxation of Internet access
Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act of 2007 - Amends the Internet Tax Freedom Act to make permanent the ban on state and local taxation of Internet access and on multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce.
Related bills: H.R.743, H.R.1077, H.R.3678, S.156.
Source: Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act (S.2128) 07-S2128 on Oct 2, 2007
Ensure net neutrality: no corporate-tiered Internet.
Kerry co-sponsored ensuring net neutrality: no corporate-tiered Internet
A bill to amend the communications act of 1934 to ensure net neutrality:
- Broadband service providers shall not interfere with the ability of any person to use a broadband service to access or offer any lawful content via the Internet;
- only prioritize content or services based on the type of content or services and the level of service purchased by the user, without charge for such prioritization.
Sen. DORGAN. "The issue of Internet freedom is also known as net neutrality. I have long fought in Congress against media concentration, to prevent the consolidation of control over what Americans see in the media. Now, Americans face an equally great threat to the democratic vehicle of the Internet, which we have always taken for granted as an open and free engine for creative growth.
"The Internet became a robust engine of economic development by enabling anyone with a good idea to connect to consumers and compete on a level playing field for consumers' business.
The marketplace picked winners and losers, and not some central gatekeeper.
"But now we face a situation where the FCC has removed nondiscrimination rules that applied to Internet providers for years. Broadband operators soon thereafter announced their interest in acting in discriminatory ways, planning to create tiers on the Internet that could restrict content providers' access to the Internet unless they pay extra for faster speeds or better service. Under their plan, the Internet would become a new world where those content providers who can afford to pay special fees would have better access to consumers.
"This fundamentally changes the way the Internet has operated and threaten to derail the democratic nature of the Internet. American consumers and businesses will be worse off for it. Today we introduce the Internet Freedom Preservation Act to ensure that the Internet remains a platform that spawns innovation and economic development for generations to come.
Source: Internet Freedom Preservation Act (S.215) 2007-S215 on Jan 9, 2007
Overturn FCC approval of media consolidation.
Kerry co-sponsored overturning FCC approval of media consolidation
Congressional Summary:Disapproves the rule submitted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on February 22, 2008, relating to broadcast media ownership. Declares that the rule shall have no force or effect.
Proponents' Argument in Favor:Sen. DORGAN: The FCC loosened the ban on cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations. We seek with this resolution of disapproval to reverse the FCC's fast march to ease media ownership rules. The FCC has taken a series of destructive actions in the past two decades that I believe have undermined the public interest. [Now they have given] a further green light to media concentration.
The FCC voted to allow cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast stations in the top 20 markets, with loopholes for mergers outside of the top 20 markets.
The newspapers would be allowed to buy stations ranked above fifth and above.
The rule change was framed as a modest compromise. But make no mistake, this is a big deal. As much as 44% of the population lives in the top 20 markets. The last time the FCC tried to do this, in 2003, the Senate voted to block it.
This rule will undercut localism and diversity of ownership around the country. Studies show that removing the ban on newspaper/broadcast cross-ownership results in a net loss in the amount of local news produced in the market as a whole. In addition, while the FCC suggests that cross-ownership is necessary to save failing newspapers, the publicly traded newspapers earn annual rates of return between 16% and 18%.
This Resolution of Disapproval will ensure this rule change has no effect. This is again a bipartisan effort to stop the FCC from destroying the local interests that we have always felt must be a part of broadcasting.
Source: S.J.RES.28&H.J.RES.79 2008-SJR28 on Mar 5, 2008
Let companies share Y2K plans with no risk of lawsuits.
Kerry co-sponsored the Year 2000 Information and Readiness Disclosure Act
An act to encourage the disclosure and exchange of information about computer processing problems, solutions, test practices and test results, and related matters in connection with the transition to the year 2000.
Provides that no Year 2000 (Y2K problem) readiness disclosure (a statement concerning Year 2000 computer compliance information) shall be admissible in any civil action arising under Federal or State law against the maker of the disclosure to prove the accuracy or truth of any year 2000 statement in such disclosure, except: (1) as the basis for a claim for anticipatory breach or repudiation or a similar claim against the maker; and (2) when a court determines that the maker's disclosure amounts to bad faith or fraud or is otherwise unreasonable.
Corresponding House bill is H.R.4455. Became Public Law No: 105-271.
Source: Bill sponsored by 32 Senators and 11 Reps 98-S2392 on Jul 30, 1998
Page last updated: Feb 25, 2011