What do Senators Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.) have in common?
Not much when it comes to their voting records. But today these Republican and Democratic Senators did something we haven't seen in long time -- they showed uncommon bipartisan leadership by introducing the Startup Act 2.0, legislation designed to boost the American economy by creating incentives for entrepreneurs to start new business.
In introducing Startup 2.0 the Senators recognize what the credible studies have told us for years -- that creating incentives for immigrant entrepreneurs is the key to America's economic vitality because immigrants are job creators. In an op-ed published in Politico they explained:
Vital to any new business are the talented individuals who turn ideas into reality -- including foreign-born entrepreneurs. More than a quarter of technology and engineering companies created in the U.S. between 1995 and 2005 had at least one key founder who was foreign-born, according to researchers at Duke and at the University of California, Berkeley. Yet current immigration policies have hurt U.S. efforts to compete in the global contest for entrepreneurial talent.
The Senators propose to solve this problem, attract foreign talent, and "jump start" the economy by creating an Entrepreneur's Visa for immigrants who establish businesses in the U.S. that create American jobs. The proposal recognizes that the best way to attract foreign born entrepreneurs is to create a business investment/job creation friendly path to citizenship. The proposal also creates a green card for foreign students who have graduated from American Universities with degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics. The STEM visa would go a long way toward ending the absurd policy of educating foreign nationals in our schools only to send them back home with their American education.
Amid the rancor and squabbling that has come to characterize Washington it's refreshing that Senators Moran, Warner, Rubio and Coons are talking solutions in a bipartisan effort to strengthen the economy and create jobs. They should be applauded for setting aside their political differences and getting to work on behalf of the American people.
There are at least 8 other bills touching on job creating business visas under consideration in Congress, with more likely to come -- showing a strong interest in updating America's obsolete employment-based visa policies. But the real challenge will be working with other stakeholders in the immigration debate to craft a reform package that will make it through the legislative process and on to the president's desk.
In the meantime, whatever one might think of the Startup 2.0 Act, it's certainly a welcome respite from the same old blabber about border fences, boots on the ground, and self-deportation.
Follow David Leopold on Twitter: www.twitter.com/DavidLeopold