Mar 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

McCarthy enlists MIT in prep for speakership

Mike Allen
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the State of the Union, in the House Chamber on March 1.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the State of the Union, in the House Chamber on March 1. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy is enlisting MIT to help his conference bone up on complex issues changing the world — drones, AI, hypersonic weapons — in hopes they'll be in charge next year.

Why it matters: McCarthy's alliance with MIT is designed to add a future-focused dimension to the GOP agenda if the party wins the House majority in midterms, and he becomes Speaker.

What's happening: McCarthy and several of his likely committee and subcommittee chairs spent Monday at the MIT School of Engineering, with in-person instruction from professors who are experts in:

  • Artificial intelligence (including applications for government and military) ... Quantum computing ... Life sciences (including vaccines) ... semiconductors ... and cybersecurity.

McCarthy said in an interview that the two biggest long-term threats to the country are debt and China. He said the U.S. needs to be better prepared — including by becoming more self-sufficient on chip-making.

  • "The structure of this body has to change," he said. "How do I raise the bar, and provide people with greater information so we can get better outcomes?"

McCarthy told Axios he plans to develop an MIT-inspired course for committee leaders that eventually can be scaled to the full Congress:

  • "My mindset is continuing education."
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