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John Kerry on Technology

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


Supports "Fairness Doctrine" requiring balance in talk radio

Liberals plotting to undermine Fox News are itching to bring back the "Fairness Doctrine" to destroy talk radio and invoke campaign finance laws to restrict speech on the Internet. The "Fairness Doctrine" does not apply to TV stations, newspapers, magazines, or movies. Only on the radio is the government required to enforce "fairness."

By mandating that any political views disseminated over the radio be counterbalanced by the opposing view, the "Fairness Doctrine" not only requires radio stations to give boring crackpots airtime, it also creates an administrative nightmare. What is fair? There are conservative and liberal views--but there are also libertarian, Green party, and Marxist views. Reimplementation of the "Fairness Doctrine" spells the end of talk radio.

So naturally Democrats are itching to bring it back! Senators Jeff Bingaman, Richard Durbin, Dianne Feinstein, John Kerry, and Chuck Schumer--all Democrats--have said they want to reinstate the "Fairness Doctrine."

Source: Guilty, by Ann Coulter, p. 18-19 , Nov 10, 2009

Technological advances make environmental progress cheap

Naysayers have argued that meeting environmental challenges is too difficult or expensive; too complicated and divisive. But those arguments ignore recent history, not to mention the stunning tradition of American achievement. In the early 1990s, Congress set out to renew the Clean Air Act, providing the first real opportunity to address acid rain at the national level. There was the inevitable tug-of-war between the power industry and the environmentalists. The environmental community argued it would take half the time at half the cost [than industry estimates].

Guess what? They were both wrong. It took half the money the ENVIRONMENTALISTS had predicted to achieve better air quality standards. Why? Because no one could anticipate the scale of technological advances achieved once the decision was made and goals were set. The lessons learned? Don't listen to those who counsel despair and never underestimate the ingenuity of our scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

Source: This Moment On Earth, by John Kerry, p.198 , Jan 1, 2007

$3B in tax credits to spur hybrid vehicle development

Flexible fuel vehicles can run on higher blends of ethanol, which helps displace petroleum. I propose that by 2020, 100% of our vehicles should be capable of running on flex fuels. Unless US automakers move faster to build hybrids, thousands of jobs could be lost. Producing fuel-efficient, advanced-technology vehicles will require automobiles and their suppliers to retool their factories. Hybrid vehicles rely on advanced equipment such as battery packs, electric motors and generators, and electronic power controllers--components that currently come from factories in Japan and Europe. Tax credits will help manufacturers make capital investments necessary to retool their factories, increase the cost-effectiveness of advanced technologies, and stimulate job growth in the production of cleaner, more efficient vehicles. We must provide a total of $3 billion over the next 5 years in consumer and manufacturer tax credits to spur these changes.
Source: This Moment On Earth, by John Kerry, p.208 , Jan 1, 2007

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: 2004 Senate 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: 2004 Senate 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

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

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.
Reference: Santorum amendment to Transportation funding bill; Bill S.Amdt.3015 to S.Con.Res.83 ; vote number 2006-052 on Mar 15, 2006

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]
Reference: Bill S.442 ; 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":

Performance-Based Government
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.

Source: The Hyde Park Declaration 00-DLC8 on Aug 1, 2000

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.

Source: Congressional Internet Caucus web site, NetCaucus.org 01-CIC1 on Jan 1, 2001

$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:
  1. establish the goals, priorities, and metrics for evaluation for Federal nanotechnology research, development, and other activities;
  2. invest in Federal research and development programs in nanotechnology and related sciences to achieve those goals; and
  3. provide for interagency coordination of Federal nanotechnology activities undertaken pursuant to the Program.
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

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:

  1. The FCC has assigned 2-1-1 as the national telephone number for information and referral on human services.
  2. 2-1-1 facilitates critical connections between families seeking services, including community-based and faith-based organizations.
  3. There are approximately 1,500,000 nonprofit organizations in the US [which would be listed in the 2-1-1 service].
  4. Government funding supports well-intentioned programs that are not fully utilized because of a lack of access to such programs.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

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

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Page last updated: Mar 09, 2014