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What tech policy lobbyists can't let go of

Jan 23, 2024
Illustration of a procession of lobbyists with suitcases

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Just because a tech policy issue seems a little dead in Congress doesn't mean tech lobbyists have stopped spending money on it.

Why it matters: People in Washington talk a big game about bills having lost all momentum, but we know nothing's ever really over on the Hill if a lawmaker is determined to see legislation pass.

  • Just the continued threat of conversation about a certain bill is enough to merit a lobbyist visit and millions spent, per federal lobbying disclosures.

Details: Per Q4 2023 forms, here are the tech policy topics that have been repeatedly beaten or slowed down on the Hill but are not yet defeated in the eyes of the companies they would impact:

  • Kids' online safety (KOSA and an update to COPPA, various iterations of TikTok bans, age verification on social media)
  • Content moderation and tweaks to Section 230
  • Tech antitrust, including OAMA and the JCPA
  • Patents, copyright, music licensing and cloud computing
  • Broadband access
  • Encryption, data retention, sending data back and forth overseas
  • Taxes, manufacturing and R&D
  • High-skilled immigration, trade agreements and supply chain

Our thought bubble: Tech lobbying is largely about staying on offense and not taking any chances, knowing that some bills gain momentum or a ride on a piece of must-pass legislation without much warning.

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