Capital Roundup

Lawmakers Question Safeguards<@VM>R&D Tax Credit Clears Senate<@VM>OK on Cybersquatting Bill

Rep. Floyd Spence

By Anne Gallagher

A group of House members sent President Clinton a letter questioning the White House plan to raise the performance threshold used to review export of high performance computers to third-tier countries in which end users are classified as a proliferation or national security concern.

The members, led by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Floyd Spence, R-S.C., asked the White House to answer a series of questions, including specifics on why 79 export license applications were rejected between Feb. 3, 1998 and March 19, 1999.

They also want to know how many computers with processing speeds of 2 billion to 6.5 billion of theoretical operations per second will be shipped to third-tier countries next year if the new thresholds take effect.

Sen. Trent Lott

The Senate approved a tax extender package that lengthens the research and development tax credit for 18 months.

The Senate passed the Finance Committee's version of the bill rather than one proposed by Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., that would have made the R&D tax credit a permanent part of the tax code.

Lott introduced his version because he did not approve of the Finance Committee's bill. The House version of the bill includes a five-year extension of the R&D tax credit. That bill is on its way to a full House vote, leaving differences to be resolved in conference.

The high-tech industry has pushed for a permanent R&D credit, but acknowledged the Finance Committee measure was a good first step.

"If we are truly to help ensure that our nation's high-tech sector continues to lead the world, to set the pace in innovation, to be a source for rapid income growth, to be a source for rapid income growth and job creation, we need further steps," said William Archey, president and CEO of the American Electronics Association. "We must make the R&D tax credit permanent."

The House passed a bill to prevent cybersquatting that includes a provision establishing penalties of up to $100,000 per Internet address for violators.

Cybersquatting is the practice of registering an Internet domain name or establishing a Web site with a trademark name or title by someone other than the rightful owner. The Senate earlier this year passed counterpart legislation.

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