The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the American Competitiveness on More Productive Emerging Tech Economy (COMPETE Act) and the Consumer Safety Technology Act (H.R. 8128), both now move to the Senate for consideration.

The COMPETE Act is a bipartisan piece of legislation meant to “restore American global competitiveness in emerging technologies” and calls for the Secretary of Commerce to complete studies on AI, the state of manufacturing in the United States, quantum computing, blockchain, and other emerging technologies.

“This legislation will unleash free-market American ingenuity by reducing regulatory and bureaucratic barriers to the development of next-gen tech and develop strategies to enhance U.S. competitiveness in these areas,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., said in a statement. Rep. McMorris Rodgers introduced the bill along with Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill.

The Consumer Safety Technology Act, introduced by Reps. Jerry McNerney, D-Calif., and Michael Burgess, R-Texas, directs the Consumer Product Safety Commission to establish a pilot program that explores the use of AI in support of the Commission’s mission. Further, it prompts the Secretary of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission to conduct a study and report on the use of blockchain technologies.

The bill requires that the pilot program be used for one of the following purposes:

  • Track trends related to injuries involving consumer products;
  • Identify consumer product hazards;
  • Monitor the retail marketplace for the sale of recalled consumer products; and
  • Identify consumer products required by section 17(a) of H.R. 8128 to be refused admission into the customs territory of the United States.

“As Co-Chair of the Congressional AI Caucus, one of my top priorities has been to help expand AI adoption within the federal government by ensuring federal agencies have the expertise and tools they need to succeed,” Rep. McNerney said in an August 31 statement. “This bill would build on my previously introduced legislation, the AI in Government Act, and is an important first step toward exploring the potential for AI in this area. I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Congressman Burgess.”

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.