If you’re asking whether Washington has kept pace with technological innovation in Silicon Valley, Rep. Jason Chaffetz has a blunt response: “Are you kidding?”
“There are very few people who understand or appreciate tech,” Chaffetz (R-Utah) said at POLITICO’s The Future of Mobile event Thursday. “I think it scares a lot of members of Congress.”
Much of Congress’ connection to Silicon Valley is through fundraising only, added Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), whose district routinely sees visiting lawmakers raising cash.
“But that doesn’t mean they have any idea of what is going on in the tech world,” she added.
Washington’s slow understanding of technology and telecom development comes amid an increasingly active private-sector — most notably, a pair of major mergers between AT&T and DirecTV and Comcast and Time Warner Cable. Lawmakers won’t have direct authority over whether those deals go through, but many legislators have still not been hesitant to weigh in.
“It concerns me because we need a competitive marketplace and you can mess that up in a variety of ways,” Lofgren said.
Chaffetz added, “Some of the consolidation is healthy in the process.”