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Scoop: House AI working group details

Feb 15, 2024
Illustration of a US Capitol dome made out of binary code.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

A House AI working group designed to collaborate with the Senate and pass legislation will be announced within days, its new chair Rep. Jay Obernolte told Axios.

Why it matters: Differences between Senate and House approaches to tech issues (think privacy) have gotten in the way of passing legislation — so the new working group could help iron out any problems.

State of play: Rep. Ted Lieu will be co-chair of the working group. His office did not respond to a request for comment.

  • The final roster hasn't been decided, but there will be between 10-12 lawmakers from each side in the group.
  • House Speaker Mike Johnson and Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries are involved in forming the group.
  • AI Caucus co-chair Anna Eshoo told Axios she has expressed interest in joining the group. Rep. Darrell Issa said he is a part of it.

What they're saying: "We're going to be charged with crafting a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence and unifying that with the Senate in hopefully a form that can be passed by both chambers and signed into law," Obernolte said.

  • "We will create legislation, we will introduce it and then it'll go through the normal legislative process."

The framework will encompass a variety of AI issues from workforce to copyright.

  • Obernolte: "All of the above. There are a lot of different aspects to the job of regulating AI. And we're hoping to get our arms around all of them."
  • Issa said the goal for the working group is not to do the work committees are already doing in terms of learning about the technology, "it's to bring together all of it so that it can be looked at in a whole of Congress basis."

What's next: Obernolte said it's going to take a long time to get the work done.

  • "Obviously this is not the work of just a few months, this is going to be the work of years and years. But it's important that we get started. I think we're behind."

The bottom line: Emphasizing coordination between chambers from the jump will be key to getting legislation signed into law, though Obernolte's timeline of several years may not sit well with lawmakers who feel more immediate action is needed.

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