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CNN Today

Congressional Republicans Unveil 'E-Contract 2000'

Aired May 10, 2000 - 1:33 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: The Web's vulnerabilities are being discussed on Capitol Hill today, but so are its opportunities. Congressional Republicans unveiled a list of what they call "e- nitiatives."

And CNN's Louise Schiavone has the story.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

LOUISE SCHIAVONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): GOP leaders say they are protecting this newest sector of the economy.

REP. DICK ARMEY (R-TX), MAJORITY LEADER: There's something big, wonderful, dynamic out there, the natural impulse of government is to either tax it or regulate it, and we've just got to stop that from happening.

SCHIAVONE: A key piece of the agenda plays out today, with members voting on a broadly-supported bill to extend the current Internet tax moratorium for five years. Also on the GOP E-Contract: digital signature legislation, critical to sealing financial deals on- line; a ban on taxing Internet access; eliminating the 3-cent telephone excise tax; expanding the number of visas for high-skilled workers from other countries; and permanent normal trade relations with China.

Votes on at least half of these are expected this month, and Democrats, who are unveiling their own "e-genda" soon, say there's bipartisan support for most of these bills.

REP. CALVIN DOOLEY (D), CALIFORNIA: Where I think Democrats are more aggressive is ensuring that we're not allowing anyone to be left behind, that we're going to be able to develop the programs and provide the resources for children throughout the country, whether they're low-income children or high-income children.

SCHIAVONE: Decisions such as these, in the long run, will depend upon who controls Congress, and lawmakers are looking to the deep pockets of the high-tech industry as yet another source of campaign funds. So far in this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, the 10 largest donors from the high-tech sector have given $2.1 million to Democratic congressional candidates, and $1.3 million to Republicans.

But the industry remains wary of what Congress might ultimately produce.

ED BLACK, COMPUTER & COMM. INDUSTRY ASSOC.: I think most of the people in the industry are pragmatic enough to understand that intentions are great, but results are what count.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

SCHIAVONE: With bipartisan support for many of these bills, the outlook is good for the GOP E-Contract, starting with today's vote on extending the current Internet tax moratorium.

Louise Schiavone reporting live, for CNN Financial News, Washington.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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