2021 Year In Review

*2022 AI Commission Satellite Media Tour

2021 Wins

Artificial Intelligence

Released a report and hosted an event with Deloitte on trustworthy AI that highlights how responsible government public policy can advance trustworthy AI.

Successfully engaged the Administration in implementing the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act. The U.S. Chamber has been a fierce advocate of the National AI Initiative and continues to engage with the implementing agencies, Capitol Hill, and other vital stakeholders to support the AI Risk Management Framework, National AI Research Resource, and the National AL Advisory Committee.

The recent National Institute of Standards and Technology Risk Management Framework summary quotes C_TEC’s comments twice. Continuing to outline that the working group provides industry-leading commentary and substantive feedback that moves the needle.

Automated Vehicles

Prevented several adverse AV policy proposals from being included in the IIJA.                                                            

Data Privacy

Successfully advocated against the inclusion of private rights of action in legislation through direct advocacy, letters, and testimony in North Dakota, Virginia, and Washington. Assisted in improving the enforcement language of the proposed Uniform Law Commission bill.

Facial Recognition 

Spearheaded an industry coalition letter to the Biden Administration opposing a moratorium on facial recognition in response to advocates calling for a ban. Instead of a moratorium, the Administration is hosting “stakeholder listening sessions” on biometrics and issued a request for information on biometrics.

Secured enhanced testing for facial recognition in the House’s NIST reauthorization legislation. This reauthorization is in the mix for discussions on the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA).

Telecommunications and E-Commerce 

On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) became law, providing $65 billion in investments for broadband deployment and affordability. Specifically, the legislation provides $42 billion for broadband deployment, $1 billion for middle mile infrastructure, $2.75 billion for digital equity programs, $14 billion for the Affordable Connectivity Program, as well as several rulemakings on broadband labeling and digital discrimination. The Chamber strongly supported the IIJA and worked to shape the broadband provisions to minimize onerous government intervention and ensure the effective use of broadband investments.

Passage of the IIJA that includes $65 billion for broadband access and affordability. We successfully watered down a number of provisions on topics including government owned networks, rate regulation, and digital discrimination.

Successful confirmation of Jessica Rosenworcel and lack of movement for Gigi Sohn.

Unmanned Aircraft Systems

Final Rules on UAS Remote Identification and Expanded Operations were published by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in March.

The FAA is pursuing an Aviation Rulemaking Committee to enable UAS beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations. We have been advocating for the FAA to start a rulemaking on BVLOS.

Other Accomplishments 

The U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation, the United States Innovation & Competition Act which includes funding for research & development as well as semiconductors.

The IIJA established the Strengthening Mobility and Revolutionizing Transportation (SMART) Grant Program, which will leverage technology to advance smart cities and transportation efficiencies. The Chamber previously endorsed standalone legislation creating this new program.

We have continued to work with other stakeholders and trade groups to secure $1 billion in further funding within the American Rescue Plan for the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF).

2022 Priorities

Maintaining U.S. Global Technological Competitiveness

As the share of federal research compares to that of the private sector declines, America needs a national strategy to compete internationally on research and development. The Chamber will pursue passage of a bipartisan innovation and competition bill that invests in key technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum, and advanced communications. A national strategy should provide funding for fundamental R&D, establish regional technology hubs, and help America compete in emerging technologies. 

Ensuring Artificial Intelligence Competitiveness, Inclusion, and Innovation

The U.S. Chamber is taking a leadership role by bringing together thought leaders with experience in government, industry, and civil society to address the advancement and challenges of adopting artificial intelligence within our society. The Commission on Artificial Intelligence Competitiveness, Inclusion, and Innovation (AI Commission), co-chaired by former Congressmen John Delaney and Mike Ferguson, will provide independent, bipartisan recommendations to aid policymakers. The Commission will release a report based on public testimony which proposes policy solutions that accomplish the goal of ensuring the United States continues to lead in innovation while fostering fairness in the deployment of this revolutionary technology.

C_TEC continues to be at the forefront of highlighting AI’s benefits and use cases and advocating for common-sense approaches to advance the adoption of trustworthy AI applications. We are accomplishing this by interacting with critical policymakers, organizing public-facing briefings, conducting research, and supporting federal and state legislation. 

Bolstering U.S. Semiconductor Capacity

To combat the massive global semiconductor shortage and build resilience into our supply chains, the U.S. needs to invest dollars and put the right tax incentives in place to produce semiconductors domestically. The U.S. share of semiconductor manufacturing capacity dropped from 37% in 1990 to 12% today. Moreover, 40 years ago, federal investment in semiconductor R&D was more than double that of private investment, but today, the private sector is investing 20-times more. Funding the CHIPS Act and passage of the FABS Act is a critical step to developing a strong and resilient semiconductor ecosystem in the U.S.

Protecting the Privacy of All Americans

A growing patchwork of state privacy laws threatens small businesses and creates confusion for consumers. Congress should pass a national privacy law that protects all Americans equally by giving consumers robust data protection rights while empowering agencies like the FTC and state attorneys general to enforce them. C_TEC will oppose federal proposals that create further unnecessary complexity like private rights of action and non-preemptive rulemakings. 

Modernizing Government for Good

The COVID-19 pandemic, while tragic, has served as an important reminder that outdated government IT leads to significant inefficiencies that harm both the government’s ability to respond to a crisis and the public’s ability to receive vital assistance. Our government must be prepared to tackle any future problem. C_TEC will launch a national campaign around the need to invest in government IT, from the Technology Modernization Fund (TMF) at the federal level to using American Rescue Plan funds at the state and local levels. C_TEC will also work with the new IT Modernization Caucus on Capitol Hill to identify hurdles to much-needed digital transformation that helps government run more efficiently and better serves citizens.

Fighting Innovation-Inhibiting Regulation

C_TEC will continue to educate policymakers and consumers about the benefits that technology and gig platforms provide including for small businesses. Knowing the stakes and how important technology is for the American economy, C_TEC will fight back against unreasonable attempts to harm America’s vibrant tech ecosystem or target specific industries for regulation. 

Unlocking the Potential of Unmanned Aircraft Systems

C_TEC will continue to press for the FAA to initiate a rulemaking to implement Section 2209 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act to protect critical infrastructure facilities from drones. This rulemaking is essential to eliminate a patchwork of state laws on protecting these types of sites and giving critical infrastructure owners certainty that illicit use of drones will not pose a threat to their facilities. 

Additionally, the FAA should initiate rulemaking to allow for expanded UAS operations, including beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS), to unlock the full potential of drones. Currently, FAA regulations limit the ability for the routine complex operation of drones. These types of operations are critical for use cases such as delivery and infrastructure inspection. 

Connecting All Americans

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government has invested tens of billions in broadband deployment and affordability programs to help close the digital divide, most recently through the enactment of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). Federal agencies should ensure these investments are targeted to unserved areas, flow to private sector providers, and not tied to burdensome regulatory mandates. 

While federal broadband investments are important, policymakers should also focus on addressing other barriers to broadband deployment including domestic content restrictions, workforce shortages, supply chain challenges, and costly permitting requirements. Addressing these barriers will allow scarce federal resources to be used efficiently and achieve the goal of connecting all Americans.  

Enacting a Federal Framework for Automated Vehicles

Congress should enact legislation providing a national framework to enable the widespread deployment of automated vehicle technology. The introduction of automated vehicles will bring significant safety, economic, and mobility benefits for American consumers and the general public.