Policy Update for October-December 2021

Re: Lincoln Policy Team Activities for Q4 2021

Dear friend of Lincoln:

As 2021 comes to a close, I’d like to share with you some of our policy team’s recent work, covering a range of issues from tech regulation, improving government accountability, and modernizing governance.

Lincoln Network co-founder and chairman Garrett Johnson announced our new leadership team in December, with Zach Graves stepping up to lead the organization as executive director, and Grace Meyer becoming COO. I’m also taking over Zach’s former role as head of policy. 

There were also some staff additions. In October, Luke Hogg joined our team as policy manager. In November, we were thrilled to welcome Antonio García Martínez as a senior fellow (AGM has an impressive background in tech, having been the founder of a YC-backed startup, the first product manager for targeted advertising at Facebook, the author of best-selling book Chaos Monkeys, a Wired columnist, and more). We also plan to announce two new senior fellows in the FACET program in January.

Commentary 

In November, Lincoln Studio’s Brandon Detweiler wrote that America is losing its lead as the innovation capital of the world, due to potential regulations of cryptocurrencies. On this topic, Luke Hogg analyzed growing confusion about the Biden Administration’s plans for regulating stablecoins.

Luke also wrote about how technical disagreements between the Federal Aviation Administration and the Federal Communications Commission are delaying the planned 5G rollout over potential safety concerns until January 5th, urging a swift resolution to the dispute.  Luke has also been busy following the latest Congressional proposals to regulate the technology sector.

I reviewed GAO’s latest annual report and discussed ways that Congress could require federal agencies to answer the watchdog’s more than 4,600 open recommendations.

Lars Schönander published our review of some of the literature on industrial strategy, developmental states, and innovation policy

AGM published posts at The Pull Request, including an article on Web3 advertising, a piece on Zuckerberg’s pivot to the metaverse, and why he’s “joining the swamp.”

Podcasts

On The Pull Request podcast on Callin, AGM interviews guests including David Sacks, Kmele Foster, Balaji Srinivasan, Michael Eisenberg, Michael Shellenberger, and more. 

On The Realignment, Marshall and Saagar interview guests including Matt Ridley, Alex Kantrowitz, John McWhorter, Ross Douthat, Andrew Yang, Bradley Tusk, and more. Catch up on recent episodes of The Realignment on Apple Podcasts, or subscribe to their channel on YouTube.

Fellowships

Following our DC kick-off event in September, the Policy Hackers program has featured a number of expert speakers covering the fundamentals of policymaking, as well as deep dives on particular subjects. Notable sessions include Daniel Schuman (Demand Progress) and Rachel Bovard (Conservative Partnership Institute) on Congress, Jared Meyer (Cicero Institute) on state policy, Chris Riley (Brave New Software) on tech policy, Dan Chenok (IBM) on tech in government, Eric Lofgren (GMU) on acquisitions, and more.

Events 

In October, Marshall Kosloff and Saagar Enjeti hosted the Realignment Conference (watch it here and here) in Miami, which explored the realignment reshaping America and the world — and what it means for politics, technology, foreign policy, and the ways we live and work. Speakers included Founders Fund’s Mike Solana, JMI’s Andrea O’Sullivan, Stanford’s Jacob Helberg, Wired’s Gilad Edelman, and more.

Lincoln Network also hosted an event in Miami featuring Peter Thiel, which covered wide-ranging topics such as the future of cities, culture, religion, and technology.

Other speakers included Founders Fund’s Delian Asparouhov, AmCon Magazine’s Helen Andrews, FIU’s Saif Ishoof, Vator’s Bambi Francisco, and more (watch it here).

In November, we hosted a meeting with Rep. William Timmons, the Vice Chair of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, with experts from right-of-center think tanks to discuss the importance of strengthening the Legislative Branch.

In December, I spoke with state lawmakers about strengthening state and local government cyber risk management through the American Legislative Exchange Council. 

Letters & Testimony 

In October, Zach Graves testified before the House Select Committee on the Modernization of the Congress on opportunities to strengthen the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to improve American governance

Over its hundred-year history, GAO has been a critical institution for policy formation and oversight within the federal government, eliminating wasteful inefficiencies, and driving significant value for taxpayers. With the availability of new technology tools such as machine learning, cloud software, and access to machine-readable government data, GAO has a monumental opportunity to modernize for the next century, and advance a vision to systematically transform Congress’s ability to understand and oversee federal programs in real time.

In December, we were very pleased to see the Modernization Committee pass several bipartisan recommendations to strengthen and leverage GAO’s nonpartisan oversight, including requiring an annual report on the financial cost of unimplemented recommendations, a report to Congress on legislative options to address open priority recommendations, and to authorize the Science, Technology Assessment and Analytics team, among others.

Research 

Our team goes through a lot of books as part of our research process. So we launched a new Bookshop.org page, where you can check out some of our favorite books on topics such as technology, politics, and philosophy, as well as titles authored by members of our team.

In October, Lincoln Network senior advisor Reynold Schweickhardt published a report on Using Technology to Improve Constituents’ Interactions with Congress, which included specific recommendations for improving constituent management systems.

House technologies that support constituent interactions lag state-of-the-art technologies commonly used to manage customer service interactions by private sector organizations,” Reynold writes. “While not every technique used in the commercial sector is appropriate for Congress, the House should determine where technology can appropriately improve interaction with constituents so their input and concerns can be addressed more effectively.

Looking Ahead 

In 2022, we have an exciting year planned, including the launch of several new programs. In the meantime, we wish you and yours a happy new year!

Thank you for allowing us to update you about our work. We value your questions and support and welcome any feedback.

Sincerely, 

Dan Lips
Head of Policy
Lincoln Network

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