McMorris Rodgers seeks American leadership in emerging technologies

America must secure leadership in the development and deployment of emerging technologies, said U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and a colleague last week. 

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen just how helpful and impactful these emerging technologies can be,” wrote Republican Leader of the Energy and Commerce Committee McMorris Rodgers and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), Democratic Chair of the Energy Subcommittee, in a March 12 letter sent to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo. 

Such emerging technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), which helped protect against internet scams; blockchain technologies that offered new ways to secure consumer privacy; and three-dimensional (3-D) printing, which was used to address shortages of personal protective equipment. They also include quantum computing, new and advanced materials, the Internet of Things, and unmanned delivery systems, among others, according to their letter. 

“We are looking forward to hearing from you on how we can grow the U.S. economy through the advancement of these technologies, develop national strategies to advance the U.S. global position on these technologies, develop strategies to mitigate current and emerging risks to the marketplace and supply chains of these technologies, and how to incentivize expeditious adoption of such technologies,” Rep. McMorris Rodgers and her colleague wrote.

The lawmakers pointed out that the Commerce Secretary has authority under the American COMPETE Act, which was included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 and enacted into law during the previous Congress, “to plot a path for U.S. competitiveness for emerging technologies,” and then report recommendations to Congress.

“We urge you to embrace and act upon the American COMPETE Act and not let it get bogged down in bureaucratic stovepipes,” wrote the members. “Now is the time for action on this important legislation.”