GOP senators praise House passage of AI in Government Act

U.S. Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) on Sept. 14 applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for approving their bipartisan, bicameral bill to ensure the federal government’s use of artificial intelligence (AI) and automated processes are ethical and accountable.

“Artificial intelligence will have significant impacts on our country, economy and society,” said Sen. Portman, co-chair of the Senate AI Caucus. “Ensuring that our government has the capabilities and expertise to help navigate those impacts will be important in the coming years and decades.” 

“We need a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges these technologies present for federal government use and this legislation would put us on the path to achieve that goal,” Sen. Gardner added.

The House on Monday approved its version of the Artificial Intelligence in Government Act of 2019, H.R. 2575, which would establish the AI Center of Excellence within the General Services Administration, and to require that the Office of Management and Budget issue a memorandum to federal agencies regarding AI governance approaches, according to the congressional record bill summary.

Sens. Gardner and Portman at the same time signed on as original cosponsors with bill sponsor U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) of their chamber’s identical bill, S. 1363. The U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in November 2019 approved S. 1363 and sent the bill to the full Senate, which awaits the House-approved H.R. 2575 and then will proceed to resolve any differences between both versions before taking action.

“This bipartisan legislation represents the most significant AI policy change ever passed by Congress,” said Sen. Portman. “I’m pleased the House has passed this measure and I urge my Senate colleagues to support it when it comes to the floor for a vote.”  

“Artificial intelligence presents enormous opportunities for improving the world around us but also poses serious challenges,” Sen. Gardner said. “Our bill will bring agencies, industry, and others to the table to discuss government adoption of artificial intelligence and emerging technologies.