Key Issues

IBM believes active engagement in global policy is key to enabling innovation that is essential to our company, and the world. For 2018, IBM’s public policy and legislative priorities include:

IBM competes in over 170 countries and benefits from free trade agreements (FTAs) that open world markets to U.S. innovations, but these agreements need to be modernized to reflect the global digital economy. Data is the lifeblood of the global economy and international commerce cannot function without constant streams of information flowing securely across borders. The Administration and Congress should ensure that any new or modernized FTAs, including an updated North America Free Trade Agreement, include language allowing the free movement of data across borders, prohibiting requirements to store or process data locally, ensuring free and fair market access for digital goods and services, and protecting source code, algorithms and other sensitive IP from disclosure requirements.
Contact: Steve Stewart,, Kevin Walsh,


IBM strongly supports a modern, flexible immigration system to include high-skilled (H-1B) visas and employment-based green cards with STEM education funding, to build a pipeline of skilled talent. Visas should be prioritized for U.S.-based companies that invest in the training and education of American workers so that, over time, more Americans can fill the jobs currently held by temporary visa holders. Companies that are H-1B visa-dependent should receive a lower priority in the allocation of these scarce visas. In line with our goals, IBM supports bipartisan legislation, H.R. 170, The Protect and Grow American Jobs Act, as well as the bipartisan, bicameral bills H.R. 392/S. 281, Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act of 2017. We also support S. 2344, The Immigration Innovation Act of 2018. IBM has been a leading business voice urging passage of legislation that provides a permanent, long-term solution for Dreamers under DACA authorization. We are committed to ensuring that DACA IBMers can continue to live and work legally in the U.S., and will press for legislative, legal and human resource options to protect our employees.
Contact: Meredith Singer,


As an industry leader in AI, blockchain, and quantum computing, IBM works with policy-makers to explore the benefits to society in a vast array of areas including, but not limited to trade, healthcare, financial services, taxes, education, government, public safety and infrastructure. For example, AI or “augmented intelligence” systems enhance human capabilities such as helping physicians better understand medical data and patient information; blockchain enables distributed ledgers and trusted networks to secure vast amounts of business, government and personal information; quantum computing will bring significant advancements in processing data to tackle problems that are too complex for current computers.
Contact: Mark O’Riley,, Kevin Walsh,


IBM supports the Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act to make federal government data open by default in usable machine- readable formats through open licenses. OPEN would direct agencies to create open data plans complete with processes to improve timeliness, completeness, consistency, accuracy, usefulness, and availability of data. IBM values open government data as good for data stewardship as well as responsible AI technology. It helps reduce the digital divide and root out bias in AI. National foundational datasets allow companies such as IBM to improve outcomes for people and business with cognitive computing and advanced analytics. Access to open government datasets significantly improves a wide range of services from enhanced cancer treatment to improved warnings about hazardous weather to minimize property loss.
Contact: Shali Mohleji,, Kevin Walsh,


IBM supports the Department of Defense (DoD) as it prepares to acquire enterprise-wide cloud services. However, we are concerned with the Department’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) Cloud procurement which calls for a single award of a multi-billion-dollar, 10-year contract for cloud infrastructure and platform services. Awarding a cloud contract of this type and size to a single cloud provider goes against commercial best practices, industry trends, and recommendations from the White House IT Modernization Report which all emphasize the cost, security and innovation benefits resulting from a multi-cloud environment. IBM supports efforts which encourage DoD to pursue a multi- cloud approach – from a broad base of providers – to ensure access to the very best technologies on the market. IBM therefore supports provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, H.R. 5515, which require DoD to provide Congress with an overall cloud strategy before expending portions of funding for the JEDI Cloud program.
Contact: Cheryl Bruner,


IBM supports the House-passed Department of Energy Innovation and Research Act, H.R. 589 and Senate bill 1460, the Energy and Natural Resources Act. This legislation is essential to help promote and sustain the development of exascale computing, the next generation of high performance computing, related machine learning, and the supporting ecosystem.
Contact: Mark O’Riley,, Kevin Walsh,


IBM supports polices that advance interoperability and secure, trusted data access and sharing. Further, we support policies that promote the use of advanced technologies to improve healthcare quality and outcomes. Lastly, we support policies that call for studying and piloting blockchain to better protect data in transit and at rest, rethink how we securely access and exchange data, and increase transparency in, for example, drug and device supply chains. Specifically, IBM supports the advancement of H.R. 4841, the Standardizing Electronic Prior Authorization for Safe Prescribing Act of 2018 and H.R. 3528, the Every Prescription Conveyed Securely Act. These bills would leverage technology to improve efficiencies and reduce burdens.
Contact: Yelena Vaynberg,


IBM supports the reauthorization of Perkins CTE, H.R. 2353, to improve the supply of workforce-ready graduates, align CTE programs to local, state, and regional market needs. Perkins also supports collaboration between secondary and post-secondary institutions and employers. Properly aligned CTE programs of study reduce dropout rates and result in higher employment, and salaries. IBM continues to focus on improving the educational pipeline for future skills through Perkins CTE and the P-TECH career-focused schools. Our “New Collar” campaign focuses on current skills that do not necessarily require a four-year college degree.
Contact: Ned McCulloch,


Employers and students both depend on the Higher Education Act to prepare graduates for jobs. We urge the House to advance on bipartisan basis the provisions in H.R. 4508, the PROSPER Act, that will prepare students to enter the workforce with the skills they need for lifelong success: Internships and other work experience in their area of study with private-sector employers through increased Federal Work Study funding and flexibility; Assistance for shorter-term programs of study that can be used by older students between periods of work; i.e, workforce Pell; and Expanded Financial aid counseling that includes information on employment outcomes. The career-oriented provisions in the PROSPER Act will help students get jobs in growth industries, closing a skills gap that has become severe in the information technology sector.
Contact: Ned McCulloch,


IBM believes that the future of innovation will be in code and seeks legislation to protect the invaluable contribution that software inventions make to the U.S. economy. Software is the medium of modern invention, revolutionizing industries such as automotive, healthcare, manufacturing, and many others. The Supreme Court created a confusing and unworkable test for determining patent eligible subject matter and lower courts continue to create uncertainty about what is and is not patent eligible. Through inconsistent and confused decisions, the courts and USPTO have narrowed the ability to obtain and enforce patents in the most cutting edge areas of innovation including software and biotechnology. There is no real prospect for more certainty. As the global leader in these technologies, the U.S. is at risk of losing its advantage, especially as other countries strengthen their patent systems to include protection for software inventions. IBM wants to work with Congress on a legislative solution to ensure that America remains the worldwide innovation leader.
Contact: Marc Williams,, Yelena Vaynberg,


IBM continues to support public policies based on voluntary, industry best practices and partnerships to address cybersecurity risks, facilitate better cyber hygiene and enable innovative methods, like cognitive security. Understanding that breaches will happen, reasonable data security practices based upon an organization’s cyber risk profile, size and complexity of the organization are foundational to achieving better security posture. IBM looks forward to Congress’ work on an effective national standard of breach notification that will provide clarity for all parties affected by a breach. Additionally, IBM appreciates the Administration’s continued focus on cybersecurity and the work products achieved as a result of Executive Order 13800.
Contact: Katie Ignaszewski,


Download the PDF: IBM’s 2018 Public Policy and Legislative Issues