November 18, 2020

Portman, Hassan Bipartisan Legislation to Modernize Federal Government’s Use of Latest Technology Heads to President’s Desk for a Signature

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) applauded the Senate for passing their bipartisan Information Technology Modernization Centers of Excellence Program Act that will accelerate the adoption of the latest technologies by government agencies. This legislation expands upon Senator Portman’s bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Government Act, which codifies the AI Center of Excellence (CoE) within the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide technical expertise to relevant government agencies; advise agencies on the procurement of AI technology; and promote U.S. competitiveness through agency and industry cooperation. Inspired by Senator Portman’s legislation, GSA created the AI CoE last year. The Information Technology Modernization Centers of Excellence Program Act lays out the responsibilities that all of GSA’s CoEs should have and harmonizes their roles to strengthen the government’s technology expertise beyond just AI. The legislation now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

 

“As technology continues to change and advance, it’s important that the federal government understands the significant impacts it will have on our country, economy, and society,” said Senator Portman, Co-Chair of the Senate AI Caucus. “Ensuring that our government has the capabilities and expertise to help navigate the impacts of the latest technology will be important in the coming years and decades. I applaud the Senate for passing this legislation and urge President Trump to sign it into law soon to ensure our government agencies have the insight and resources they need to better understand the benefits and pitfalls of this technology.”

 

“America is known for its innovation, but federal agencies haven't always kept pace with changing technologies and developments,” Senator Hassan said. “I am pleased that the Senate passed our bipartisan legislation to help modernize federal government systems, as well as improve the efficiency of those modernization efforts. I urge the President to sign this commonsense bill into law without delay, and I look forward to continue working with Senator Portman on a bipartisan basis to make government work better for Americans.”

 

NOTE: As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus, Portman has helped lead efforts in the Senate on this issue, and has worked in a bipartisan manner on several key measures to set high-quality standards around emerging technology, including cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

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