Portman, Hassan Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Modernize Federal Government’s Use of Latest Technology

July 2, 2020 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) introduced the bipartisan Modernization Centers of Excellence Program Act to 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 an AI Center of Excellence (CoE) within the General Services Administration to provide technical expertise to relevant government agencies; advises 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 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.

“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. This bipartisan legislation will ensure our government agencies have the insight and resources they need to better understand the benefits and pitfalls of this technology.”

“America’s private sector is consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement – but that has not always been the case within the federal government,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan bill will help federal agencies build relationships with the private sector to modernize their old systems and become more efficient. I urge my colleagues to join me and Senator Portman in supporting this common-sense legislation to help bring the federal government into the 21st century.”  

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.