As the United States continues to venture through the COVID-19 crisis, Congressional leaders are busy working to ensure that the national economy and its critical sectors securely navigate through – and out of – the uncertain period. One sector of particular interest to Congressional leaders is technology, a field in which the US and China have been fierce competitors for the past two decades. In the face of the COVID-19 crisis, and at the same time ever greater pressure from the Chinese tech sector, Congressional leaders are rewriting their playbook on emerging technology and R&D, seeking to ensure the United States retains its global lead in emerging technology while also safeguarding breakthrough tech from foreign theft or infringement.
The 14-bill package, led by Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and other House Republicans, will include proposals ranging from the funding of federal research into using artificial intelligence to combat online threats to the development of emerging technologies like blockchain and facial recognition. The package also directly addresses China through a piece of proposed legislation requiring American companies to report if they are storing data in the country.
This legislative action would be a roadmap forward for Congress regarding the technology sector, as R&D funding for emerging technology would give American companies a competitive edge – especially when competing against China in the AI and facial recognition spaces. Representative McMorris Rodgers said in an interview with Politico that she hopes the bill will pick-up bipartisan support in the house, as tech is emerging as a key political and security issue for legislators.