Bush taps VC player for tech post

After months of suspense, the president finds a role for Kleiner Perkins partner Floyd Kvamme, as the head of a science and technology advisory council.

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WASHINGTON--President Bush tapped venture capitalist Floyd Kvamme on Wednesday as the liaison between the high-tech community and the Bush administration.

Kvamme, a partner at Kleiner Perkins, will be co-chairman of the newly created Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Bush made the announcement at a high-tech summit held at the White House, attended by executives from Cisco Systems and other top companies.

At the summit, Bush asked the 150 high-tech leaders present to support his tax cut and budget proposals by e-mailing their senators, and said the government owed something to the high-tech community for fueling the economy during its boom.

"You've done so much for your country. It's time to do something for you," Bush said.

Much of what Bush said was in line with the public policy agenda of most high-tech companies. He reiterated his desire to make permanent the research and development tax credit and praised a recent Senate committee vote supporting a bill that would greatly increase the number of U.S.-manufactured computers that could be sold abroad.

He tied his tax cut to a potential boost in the technology sector, saying that a tax cut would put more money in consumers' pocketbooks, which would fuel spending on technology and restore confidence in the economy.

"This administration has great confidence in the future of the technology economy, even if the stock market may be saying otherwise," Bush said.

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President George W. Bush

Bush held two similar tech events earlier this year, one at the Texas governors' mansion, and later a smaller event at the White House. When he formed his Technology Advisory Council during the presidential campaign, Bush said he would turn frequently to members such as Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers on technology issues.

On Wednesday, Bush said he looked forward to Kvamme's counsel.

"He's an entrepreneur, a risk taker," Bush said. "But most importantly, he knows the players, people who will bring good, sound advice."

Kvamme told reporters later that the new council will not promote a particular agenda, acting instead on issues they receive from the White House or cabinet secretaries. He said the administration wants input from the tech industry in reviewing federal rules and regulations and will welcome input from the high-tech community through Kvamme.

"Good policy

Gartner analyst French Caldwell says that without technology policy leadership, the Bush administration will likely respond with only half-measures to economic issues affecting the IT industry.

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makes a good playing field for industry," Kvamme said.

Also speaking at the summit were several cabinet secretaries and presidential advisers, although attendees said there was no particular focus on tech issues such as privacy, Internet taxation or antitrust concerns.

"They are really determined to enlist support for the president's agenda," particularly on the budget, said Robert Holleyman, president of the Business Software Alliance.

There had been talk of making Kvamme, who was passed over for secretary of commerce, a sort of technology "czar," with nearly all federal powers related to technology at his disposal. But the idea never took root.

"If (Al) Gore had become president, that would have happened," said Precursor Group analyst Rudy Baca. "But that's not Bush's style. He wouldn't create a new regulator without eliminating any old ones."