Startup Act Reintroduced in Senate

Sens. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have reintroduced the bipartisan Startup Act, a bill that would allow highly skilled, high-tech savvy immigrants to remain in the country where they could help fuel the start-up community. They first introduced the bill back in September 2017.

The act, which is backed by CTIA and the Consumer Technology Association would, would among other things create "entrepreneur" and "STEM" categories of visas for "highly-educated individuals" so they can innovate in this country and create products that fuel economic growth and American jobs, so they can remain in the United States legally to promote new ideas, fuel economic opportunity and create good-paying American jobs.

For example, the bill would adjust the status of no more than 50,000 aliens with masters and doctorate degrees in a STEM field to "conditionally admitted for permanent residence," and allow them to remain in the country for up to a year after the expiration of a student visa of indefinitely if they remained in a STEM field. 

CTA in particular has pushed hard for allowing the best and brightest from around the globe to get to and stay in the country.

According to its sponsors, the bill would also: "accelerate the commercialization of university research and creative inquiry that can lead to new ventures, review and improve the regulatory processes at the federal, state and local levels, and modernize a critical Economic Development Administration (EDA) program to spur economic growth and promote innovation."

“I’ve spent most of my career in the private sector so I know the importance of advancing innovation,” said Warner a former telecom executive. “By encouraging entrepreneurship and helping attract and retain talented individuals, this bipartisan bill will help Virginia promote capital investment while boosting our economy and promoting U.S. competitiveness.” 

“Startups and small businesses are engines of job creation and economic growth,” said Klobuchar, a potential presidential candidate. “Our bipartisan bill would make it easier for students and innovators to get their ideas off the ground, encourage new ideas, and strengthen our workforce to keep the U.S. competitive in the 21st century economy.” 

“By creating both an Entrepreneur and a STEM visa, this legislation will allow startup founders to stay in the U.S. and create the next great American company,” wrote Evan Engstrom, executive director of Engine, and Julie Samuels, executive director of Tech:NYC in a letter earlier this month advocating for the legislation's return. “Technology startups are a vital and growing part of the American economy and the U.S. should take measures to ensure that technology companies continue to develop here.”

CTA tweeted its support:


“The Startup Act would help position U.S. firms for success in the fierce competition for capital and talent worldwide," said Computer & Communications Industry Assocaition President Ed Black. "We appreciate the senators’ taking steps to ensure the US has both the ideas and the workforce to remain a global leader in innovation. It’s crucial to encourage more entrepreneurs to launch their startups here and this legislation would do that.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.