Ro Khanna introduces 'Big Idea' legislation to bring Silicon Valley jobs to middle America
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., introduced legislation this week in the House to make a massive $900 billion investment in science and technology to expand Silicon Valley jobs to America's heartland and to ensure the United States retains its technological edge over China.
Khanna shared his vision for the legislation back in May for Fox News' Big Idea segment on how to create regional tech hubs that could spur jobs, education and innovation in rural America and minority communities throughout the United States.
"No person should be forced to leave their hometown to get a good-paying job," Khanna said Tuesday.
Khanna's 21st Century Jobs Package would spend $900 billion over 10 years to invest in research and development for emerging technologies such as advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.
[Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds [far left] and others at the Grand Opening of the Forge in Iowa on Sept. 7, 2019. (Jacob Fiscus Photography, courtesy of the Ro Khanna campaign.)]
Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds [far left] and others at the Grand Opening of the Forge in Iowa on Sept. 7, 2019. (Jacob Fiscus Photography, courtesy of the Ro Khanna campaign.)
His legislation would create a Federal Institute of Technology (FIT) with about 30 locations spread across the country anchored to public colleges and land-grant universities. The money would cover scholarships for rural and minority students to attend these STEM programs, provide tax incentives for businesses to locate to these communities, expand teacher training in STEM subjects and mandate a computer science curriculum in all public K-12 schools.
Khanna, who represents Silicon Valley, said a big investment in science and technology is not only necessary to spread Big Tech wealth to forgotten corners of America but to ensure the United States remains competitive. He points to the Trump administration now trying to block Chinese tech giant Huawei from supplying 5G mobile networks as an example of the urgency and the national security importance of the tech race.
"There's only so much defense we can play," Khanna said of U.S. efforts against Huawei's 5G. "For America to lead, we need to make sure that China is more dependent on American technology than vice versa in that we are the supplier of technology to the world. And if we do that, we will win the 21st century."