Schumer pledges ‘supercharged’ path to AI regulation when Senate returns from recess

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is signaling that he is serious about pushing through some form of regulatory framework for artificial intelligence when Congress is back from its August recess. 

Schumer is planning on kicking off a series of bipartisan ‘AI Insight Forums,’ he told Senate Democrats in a letter on Friday morning, in a bid to get lawmakers caught up on the rapidly advancing tech. His first, on Sept. 13, is expected to feature tech leaders like Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sam Altman, among others. 

‘These forums will build on the longstanding work of our Committees by supercharging the Senate’s typical process so we can stay ahead of AI’s rapid development,’ Schumer said. ‘This is not going to be easy, it will be one of the most difficult things we undertake, but in the twenty-first century we cannot behave like ostriches in the sand when it comes to AI. We must treat AI with the same level of seriousness as national security, job creation, and our civil liberties.’

The New York Democrat has made AI regulation a marquee goal of his razor-thin majority this Congress, convening a bipartisan AI working group dedicated to getting their colleagues caught up enough to discuss regulatory efforts. 

A member of that working group, Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., praised the forum series to Fox News Digital and affirmed they would help put lawmakers ‘in the driver’s seat’ on AI.

‘The AI Insight Forums will be a comprehensive way for Congress to explore key policy issues, opportunities, and threats related to artificial intelligence as we develop potential legislative solutions,’ Young said. 

‘The Forums’ style will allow us to explore, with the help of experts and stakeholders, a wide range of topics at a deep level while keeping committees of jurisdiction and their members in the driver’s seat when it comes to the legislative outcomes.’

‘With the rapid evolution of AI in recent years, this process could not be more timely and needed,’ Young said.

It’s the second set of learning sessions that Schumer is rolling out for senators. Before the August recess, his bipartisan working group rolled out a series of informational briefings on AI, culminating in the first-ever classified all-Senate briefing on AI and national security in July.

But despite the relatively bipartisan sentiments toward putting up guardrails on AI, not everyone in the Senate is on board.

‘I am concerned China is investing heavily in AI. I’m also concerned that Democrats want to impose such stringent regulations on the development of AI that it stifles innovation in the United States, and allows China to take the lead,’ Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, told Fox News Digital after the classified July briefing. ‘That would be a generational mistake.’

The ambitious regulatory push comes during a major crunch time for the Senate. The chamber has to work out some sort of spending deal with the GOP-led House to avoid a government shutdown by Sept. 30, in addition to reauthorizing the FAA, FISA and other critical programs by the year’s end. 

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