Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on applauding President Biden’s Executive Order on AI and further upcoming bipartisan efforts in Congress to pass legislation to regulate AI. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
I just got back from an important event at the White House, where President Biden announced a first-ever executive order regulating AI, Artificial Intelligence.
I applaud the president for breaking new ground with this Executive Order, and I told him that the Senate will work very closely with the White House to do more on AI through legislation. Tomorrow, the Senate’s bipartisan AI Gang—Senators Heinrich, Rounds, Young, and myself—will meet with President Biden at the White House to talk about the next steps we can take to work together.
While today’s AI Executive Order is a massive step forward, everyone agrees there is no substitute for Congressional action. Congress must act, must take the next step to build upon, augment, and expand today’s Executive Order by the president, and we must do it through bipartisan legislation.
We must act with urgency, but also with humility, balancing both innovation and commonsense safeguards, because you can’t do one without the other. We must act with urgency because other countries may take a lead on AI, and countries particularly with values we don’t share. But we must act with humility because this is one of the hardest tasks Congress could undertake because AI is so complicated —so far-reaching and changing all the time.
On Wednesday morning, the Senate will bring some of the nation’s leading minds in labor, business, and tech to talk about AI’s impact on America’s workforce, as part of our third AI Insight Forum.
And Wednesday afternoon, we will hold our fourth AI Insight Forum to discuss areas where AI will have an especially high impact, including health care, financial services, and our justice system.
If the Senate’s AI Insight Forums have made anything clear so far, it’s that government must be involved in AI, must be ready to invest significantly towards AI innovation, and that we don’t have a lot of time. AI development is moving quickly, adversaries like the Chinese government are moving quickly, so Congress has to act quickly too.
That’s why I’m encouraged that the Senate’s efforts on AI so far have been both balanced and bipartisan.
We need a lot of voices at the table—not just AI developers, although they must be there, but critics worried about AI’s potential harms, and advocates from labor and civil rights and other areas. Everyone must have a hand in shaping the legislation.
But our AI efforts must also remain bipartisan. They have to be, because the goal is to pass legislation, and that will only happen if both sides work together. So far, thankfully, bipartisanship is precisely what we’ve seen at the committee level, and through our bipartisan AI gang, which I’m proud to be a part of alongside Senators Rounds, Young, and Heinrich. We are making very good progress.
So again, I applaud the President for today’s first-ever AI Executive Order, and note that the Senate will build on today’s announcement by working to get closer to passing bipartisan legislation. We cannot afford to wait.