SAN FRANCISCO--Whether Barack Obama keeps his job after
Tuesday or Mitt Romney starts measuring for new White House drapes,
gridlock is likely to continue in Washington, according to the president
and CEO of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA).
Brian Toohey, in an interview just before election day, described the
divisive politics inside the Beltway and a political environment "as
dysfunctional as I've ever seen it." But, he says, technology sector
policy initiatives offer members of both political parties a rare
opportunity to find common ground.
Calling semiconductor-industry issues "non-partisan," Toohey said, "None
of our issues have a natural political edge to them, if managed
appropriately. Because we had so many new members in this Congress, we
have spent a lot of time with freshmen members explaining who we are and
what our technology represents. We've had success and there's very good
reason to be optimistic about continuing to advance our priorities
after the election."
But he added, "The system's very divisive. For our industry, what I
continue to hear from CEOs is the uncertainty created by the deadlocked
political environment-- investment is delayed, hiring is dragged down,"
The biggest issue facing every industry in some form right now is the
so-called "fiscal cliff" in which budget cuts and tax increases will be
triggered in January unless Congress acts otherwise. "It's critical
that leaders in both parties come together to address the fiscal cliff
promptly in order to ease economic uncertainty," Toohey said.