Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

Goodlatte to Fundraise in Silicon Valley as Tech Community Pushes Immigration Fix

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., is scheduled to hold a high-dollar fundraiser in Silicon Valley next week — but frustrated tech donors are already grumbling about the event, disappointed by the lack of progress from House Republicans on one of their top policy priorities: immigration legislation.

According to an invitation obtained by CQ Roll Call, the Goodlatte fundraiser is organized by TechNet, which bills itself as the “preeminent bipartisan political network of CEOs and Seniors Executives that promotes the growth of technology-led innovation.” Suggested contribution levels for Wednesday’s round table and reception with the powerful chairman range between $10,000 and $40,000 for the Goodlatte Victory Committee.

Not every big-time tech donor, however, is ready to cut a check, because Goodlatte’s Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over immigration legislation.

“In this case, because there’s been mixed messages from the Republicans, before I write my check, I wanted some assurances that Bob Goodlatte would be prepared to discuss immigration reform and what the timetable is for immigration reform, because we’re coming down the wire here with the [midterm] elections [approaching] and we need accountability,” said Ron Conway, a top angel investor and venture capitalist, adding that he had contacted TechNet via email with his concerns.

As CQ Roll Call reported last week, Republicans are risking political retribution from their most prominent donors if they do not pursue immigration legislation — and soon.

According to Political MoneyLine, Conway and his wife have already donated more than $140,000 this cycle to Republican and Democratic candidates. That’s enough to earn them a spot just within the top 100 individual contributors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

“I’m waiting to hear back from TechNet, that they can assure us that Bob Goodlatte can give us a tangible schedule … then it’s worth it for us to cut the big checks,” Conway said. “Bob Goodlatte is a huge gatekeeper in this regard, and we need his help.”

Technology entities have emerged as one of the top, best-financed lobbyists for an immigration overhaul, as they hope to increase the number of visas for high skilled laborers in math and sciences.

Facebook creator and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, for example, launched a political group, FWD.US, to advocate for pro-tech policies. The bipartisan Senate immigration bill, which provides an eventual path to citizenship for America’s approximately 11 million undocumented citizens, was viewed as one of the first big wins for such groups when it passed in June 2013.

The House, however, has stalled on approving a companion bill. The last major action on the issue came in late January when Republican leaders distributed immigration principles to their rank-and-file members. The backlash to those principles from House conservatives seemed to outweigh support from the GOP establishment. Now it appears that the initiative is in limbo, with the calendar before the 2014 midterm elections shrinking.

A spokesperson for Goodlatte declined to comment for this story.

A source close to the fundraising event’s organizers defended Goodlatte’s standing in the tech community, saying that many believe him to be a “good and positive partner.”

“Silicon Valley still views him as a thoughtful and deliberative guy that they like working with,” said the source. “The tech community in general sees Goodlatte as a good and positive partner and there’s a lot of support for [him].”

The full invitation for the fundraiser is below:

  • Biff Wellington

    What cowards. They don’t want to be seen as companies which outsource their jobs overseas, but they do want that third-world labor cost. And in order to make a few extra dollars profit, they’re willing to jump on board with the zealots who scream for immigration “reform.” Why not just sell the whole country to China, India, and Mexico, and hope they provide us with steady welfare checks?

  • wandagb

    Translation of the article: Representative Goodlatte must sit up, beg and roll over to the demands of Silicon Valley billionaires: provide us peasants to clean our offices and cheap engineers to write our computer programs, otherwise no political contribution. American interests here? Off the table.

  • michaelgingerly

    Nation for Sale!!

    What are my bids?

  • Midge

    As usual, their political contributions will be repaid one hundred fold by what they benefit from importing cheaper workers. The pols sell themselves very cheap.

  • Pav Sterry

    Fix? The only thing broken is we have to many work visas. Michael Teitelbaum, a senior research associate in the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School LA Times February 2014

  • Warren Roosevelt

    I am surprised by the article link. Just one data point, but my own personal experience directly contradicts this article.

    We tried to find someone with a very specific skill set (hired a recruiter to do so) and the most qualified candidate we could find required an H1B visa. This was a high paying job by any standard. Plus, I know of several MBA graduates from great programs who had issues getting an H1B visa. Smart individuals who are in entreprenurial fields (starting up small businesses). These are the types of people we could use more of in the US

  • Sven_Hunkstrom

    Honest question: in what manner is Conway’s demand, if met, distinguishable from a bribe?

  • Don

    “The STEM Crisis Is a Myth”

    “Forget the dire predictions of a looming shortfall of scientists, technologists, engineers, and mathematicians”

    “By Robert N. Charette”

    “Now consider the projections that suggest a STEM worker shortfall. One of the most cited in recent U.S. debates comes from the 2011 Georgetown University report mentioned above, by Anthony P. Carnevale, Nicole Smith, and Michelle Melton of the Center on Education and the Workforce. It estimated there will be slightly more than 2.4 million STEM job openings in the United States between 2008 and 2018, with 1.1 million newly created jobs and the rest to replace workers who retire or move to non-STEM fields; they conclude that there will be roughly 277 000 STEM vacancies per year.”

    “But the Georgetown study did not fully account for the Great Recession. It projected a downturn in 2009 but then a steady increase in jobs beginning in 2010 and a return to normal by the year 2018. In fact, though, more than 370 000 science and engineering jobs in the United States were lost in 2011, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

    “The Georgetown study estimates that nearly two-thirds of the STEM job openings in the United States, or about 180 000 jobs per year, will require bachelor’s degrees. Now, if you apply the Commerce Department’s definition of STEM to the NSF’s annual count of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees, that means about 252 000 STEM graduates emerged in 2009. So even if all the STEM openings were entry-level positions and even if only new STEM bachelor’s holders could compete for them, that still leaves 70 000 graduates unable to get a job in their chosen field.”
    Maybe the recruiter you hired had an agenda to steer you ONLY to people who would require an H-1B visa.

  • 2formetoo

    Exactlly what we HATE about Congress-it’s ALL about the money and to Hell w/ the people of the US!!!

  • 2formetoo

    Maybe you should tell Congress no more Pell grants for nonsense degrees. And, we need more tech skills also.

  • manesandtails1

    Goodlatte has been in Congress for too long. He used to be the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee and spent his entire time keeping Horse Slaughter going. I don’t think he has the true technical background to do anything important in a technological sense. Anybody can code their Twitter account or the other social sites but I want to see this man actually code a useful and new app for something. Thumbs down Bob!!

  • Pav Sterry

    Could you post the specifics for the job. I’d be interested in seeing it. FYI, Teitelbaum is far from the only one to find no shortage. ..Columbus resident Darrell Rathburn is one of the many caught up in this whirlwind.

    Even though he has a master’s degree in computer science and decades of experience working for Fortune 500 companies, he quit his job search after two years of looking.

    “I decided to throw in the towel and accept the fact that I was involuntarily retired,” he said. …

    Louise Karl holds a doctorate in biotechnology, has years of lab experience and has had research published in prestigious journals. She’s been looking for full-time work for six years.

    “There is no skill shortage,” she said. “I probably know 20 people with Ph.D.s in biology, chemistry, et cetera, and none of them can even get an interview.”

    Karl might be on to something.

    Some employment experts agree that there is no skill shortage. At least not on the scale that many business and trade groups are claiming.

  • higgins1990

    Democrats in bed with Big Business.

  • ameri…canwork

    The Honorable Congressman by profession is a Attorney.
    Media should ask the Congressman about illegal immigration in the Va.Construction Industry . In particular to Statutes 54.1-1100 , Prohibited Acts Section 50-22-260 .
    I wonder does he understand the illegal immigrant / unlicensed contractor issue.

  • ameri…canwork

    In one of my conversations with State Senator Steve Newman he asked, while are all these contractors using this labor ? I told him if the Contractor could build homes in China that they would load them on cargo ships and the would soon be here.

  • Plow Comms

    Collectivism is particularly insidious because its fatal flaws force centralized governments into a downward spiral where they have no choice but to attempt to support themselves through more and more plunder.

  • Warren Roosevelt

    So my story must be made up because you don’t like the sound of it? Nice, you must be a Progressive.

    There is an article in the Economist which mentions this very issue called the “Playing the visa card.” I guess that is doubtful as well. I would encourage you to speak to someone who went to a top tier b-school so you could hear first hand, but given your post, I doubt you know any.

  • Warren Roosevelt

    I don’t think that was their motivation in this case, since they only get paid if the candidate actually starts working. No monthly retainer. H1B process is not easy. Most of the candidates they put in front of us were US citizens. H1-B process is lengthy, time consuming, lots of paper work and the lawyer we hired to deal with it told us he wasn’t sure we would be able to hire the candidate we wanted.

    Again, this is just my experience, I am not refuting the data in the article, just sharing one data point.

  • ameri…canwork

    ” What a Tangled Web We Weave ”
    How come Silicon Valley and the Congressman doesn’t understand ” United We Stand ” ?
    Isn’t our flag Red White and Blue.
    I guess they are flying Red White And Green

  • Don

    I understand, Warren, and you are being very reasonable. Thank you!

    I think it possible that although the head hunter wasn’t on retainer that the outfit still may have an agenda to push H-1B candidates. Certainly possible anyway.

    Also, Warren, while the job was high paying, was the overall compensation package the same as would have been given to a U. S. citizen?

    Here is another article you might find of interest, Warren:

    “The Bogus High-Tech Worker Shortage: How Guest Workers Lower US Wages”

    “By Hal Salzman, B. Lindsay Lowell and Daniel Kuehn”

    “(Hal Salzman is a professor at the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development and the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. B. Lindsay Lowell is director of policy studies at the Institute for the Study of International Migration at Georgetown University. Daniel Kuehn is an adjunct professor and doctoral candidate in American University’s department of economics.)”

    “We’re Already Generating More Qualified Students Than Jobs”

    “Our analysis of the data finds that high-skill guest worker programs supply the preponderance of all new hires for the IT industry. The inflow of guest workers is equal to half of all IT hires each year and fully two-thirds of annual hires of workers younger than 30.”

    “At the same time, U.S. colleges are graduating more than twice as many science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates than the number of STEM openings generated by our economy each year. In short, there is little justification to support the escalating numbers of new guest workers called for in the Senate’s S744 legislation.”

    “Currently, U.S. colleges graduate far more scientists and engineers than find employment in those fields every year — about 200,000 more — while the IT industry fills about two-thirds of its entry-level positions with guest workers.”

    “Asking domestic graduates, both native-born and immigrant, to compete with guest workers on wages is not a winning strategy for strengthening U.S. science, technology and innovation.”

  • ameri…canwork

    When we don’t enforce Contractor in Va. and chaulk it up as an immigration issue by state republicans , shouldn’t we change the American Flag to only have ” One ” Star?

  • Warren Roosevelt

    Interesting article.

    To answer your question, it was the exact same comp. The interest was finding a well qualified candidate. Whether the candidate had status wasn’t an issue, though there was concern that if we hired someone who needed an H1B visa (and they couldn’t get it) we would be delayed/disadvantaged. Legal costs were a few thousand dollars but the process can take 60 days.

  • AndrewInterrupted

    There is no STEM shortage. It’s total BS.

    The H1-B program is a corporate off-shoring scam. They train the worker in the U.S. and then that worker takes the job back to mud-hut-land. It’s institutionalized treason.

  • R.C. Smith

    What a thoroughly crooked system we have. Some crooks donate (in more honest than America third-world cesspools they say “bribe” ) a few thousand, or tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to the bigger crooks at the top and we get open borders that will destroy the social fabric and quality of life for 99% of the native population. Or the same chicken-feed “donations” will sponsor a war that costs thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of foreign deaths, and trillions of dollars. American politics would make a buzzard puke.

  • R.C. Smith

    Of course if the entire world is your hiring pool you’re almost bound to come up with someone more qualified than an American. But why should we shape our immigration policy just so you can, what, put one more Beemer in your garage or acquire yet one more wall-sized TV? Yeah, I know, you’re doing it for the country.

  • devlooshen

    Since liberty enables the freedom to fail, it is rather common that the results from our own use of liberty leave us unsatisfied.

  • Warren Roosevelt

    Not sure why you are so angry, maybe you should take up a hobby or yoga. I was just sharing my experience regarding this issue. I didn’t dispute the data presented in the article. The gentleman we hired, went to college in the US, and had been working at a different firm in the US so we didn’t go far.

    Listen to yourself a little, you seem to like to live in an echo-chamber like the tea party nuts.

    Your assertion that hiring this candidate benefited me or my firm is beyond absurd. The salary for the position was set and posted/public with the recruiter. Had nothing to do with the nationality of the candidate. It must be hard going through life living in a bubble.

  • R.C. Smith

    Of course you thought this individual benefited your company, that’s why he was hired. Perhaps, along with a course in reading comprehension, you should take a course in basic business economics. As for the rest, I’ll let another tea party nut describe people like you, to a tee, if you will:

    But merchants have no country. The mere spot they stand on does not constitute so strong an attachment as that from which they draw their gains. – Thomas Jefferson.

  • Warren Roosevelt

    The US is a country of immigrants – that diversity is a source of our strength. Your comments show a degree of prejudice towards non-US citizens which can only draw a comparison to the tea-party. Maybe you should spend some more time on those types of blogs where you might feel more comfortable.

  • MolestedByDadNowaFAG

    Republican pols can’t wait to be bribed so that the rich can get richer

  • Darth_Inedible

    These scumbags know that they can easily flip sides and do business with the Dems.. But it’s just such a hassle to grease all those new palms -sigh-…

    The RINO’s terror in the face of their average middle class voters may prevent them from delivering the requested Amnesty slaves.

    With this in mind the CronyCorps may have to bite the bullet and start the move over to the Amnesty-friendly Democrat side as many post-American corporo-turds like Zuckerberg are doing in California, which will pave the way for a true GOP re-alignement away from RINOs and cronyists and towards middle class populism.

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