September 01, 2004, 3:37 PM — Widely available broadband, electronic health records and increased government spending on research and development (R&D) are among the technology-related goals in the U.S. Republican Party's 2004 platform, released this week.
Republicans, meeting in New York, adopted a wide-ranging platform that repeats technology goals set by President George Bush in recent months. The 106-page document, made available to the general public Wednesday, echoes a Bush plan, advanced in March, that calls for affordable broadband available to all U.S. residents by 2007.
Republican policies have helped advance broadband, the platform document says. "Broadband provides Americans with high-speed Internet access connections that improve the nation's economic productivity and offer life-enhancing applications, such as distance learning, remote medical diagnostics, and the ability to work from home more effectively," the platform says. "Broadband technology will enhance our nation's economic competitiveness and will improve education and health care for all Americans."
Policies such as a moratorium on broadband access taxes have encouraged broadband growth, the platform says. (The moratorium was supported by some Democrats and opposed by some Republicans.) The document notes broadband use in the U.S. has grown 300 percent from December 2000 to December 2003.
The document also notes that the amount of spectrum for wireless broadband applications such as Wi-Fi and Wi-Max has nearly doubled since Bush took office.
The platform also calls for most U.S. residents to have electronic health records within 10 years, saying e-records will reduce medical errors.
The platform repeats Bush administration talking points on R&D, noting that federal R&D spending between the 2001 and 2005 budgets rose 44 percent, to US$132 billion. Bush supports making an R&D tax credit permanent, the platform says, although a House version of a corporate tax bill passed in June by the Republican-controlled House only extends the credit for 18 months.
R&D is important because two-thirds of the growth in the U.S. economy in the '90s came from new technology, the platform says. "America's economy is undergoing a fundamental transition from one based primarily on manufacturing to one based on innovation, services, and ideas," the platform adds.
The Bush administration is best suited to create a good environment for IT companies, administration officials have argued in recent months. Broadband access and wireless broadband services are leading to new business models and new ways of working, John Marburger, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, said during a media briefing in late July.