Senate Focuses on AI Policymaking

This week in Washington, the Senate focused on AI legislation, advancing a legislative framework for AI, holding a key hearing, and hosting a closed-door forum with tech sector leaders. Microsoft President Brad Smith testified at the hearing, voicing support for the proposed Blumenthal-Hawley framework for AI legislation. Smith endorsed the idea of creating a federal licensing system for certain AI platforms and forming an independent oversight body to regulate AI.

You can read Brad Smith’s written Senate testimony here. Coverage of Microsoft’s positions on AI regulation can be found in Politico and GeekWire.

Thank you for reading. Below we’ve rounded up tech policy news stories and highlighted a compelling podcast.

This Week in Washington 

  • Politico: Tech lobbyists are working to provide solutions to state legislators and their staff as they consider new AI legislation this fall, in an attempt to avoid a patchwork of inconsistent legislation – especially if Congress fails to pass comprehensive federal AI regulations. 
  • NPR: A group of leaders from top American technology companies, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Tesla CEO Elon Musk met U.S. Senators in a closed-door session to discuss what Congress can do to regulate AI as part of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s bipartisan plan to craft laws for the emerging technology.
  • The New York Times: The White House announced that eight more companies, including Adobe, IBM, Palantir, Nvidia, and Salesforce, have pledged to follow standards to make AI safe. By joining this pledge, the companies agree to include testing future products for security risks and using watermarks to help users spot AI-generated materials.
  • The Hill: The Biden administration’s efforts to limit misinformation are facing a challenge after an appeals court found that they had likely violated the First Amendment by pressuring social media platforms to moderate and take down content they deemed inappropriate. This legal battle could soon reach the Supreme Court in a case that could have major implications for online speech. 
  • CyberScoop: A group of parents of trans and gender-expansive children are urging members of Congress to oppose the Kids Online Safety Act believing that the law’s efforts to protect children online could backfire and cause harm to LGBTQ communities. They believe that the law would censor information revolving around LGBTQ matters and reproductive health care, which is already restricted in some states.
  • CyberScoop: The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) Advisory Committee delivered a list of recommendations encouraging the agency to increase the cybersecurity expertise on corporate boards of directors, develop a national cybersecurity alert mechanism, and better protect high-risk communities from surveillance.
  • Axios: A new filing by the U.S. Justice Department on behalf of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) claims that Elon Musk may have violated a 2022 FTC order on privacy and security practices at X, formerly known as Twitter.
  • The Washington Post: ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, and the U.S. are rekindling negotiation talks six months after the Biden administration gave the social media giant an ultimatum of selling TikTok or waiting for a nationwide ban from Congress. Calls to ban TikTok have waned on both sides of the aisle ahead of the 2024 election, with many candidates believing it could be their best way to connect with young voters.

Article Summary

  • StateScoop: The California legislature passed the Delete Act, a first-of-its-kind law allowing consumers to remove their personal data from all data brokers through a one-stop-shop website. This act builds upon the 2018 California Consumer Protection Act that set the standard for consumer data privacy laws.
  • Axios: A new report from the Center for Countering Digital Hate claims that X, formerly known as Twitter, has once again failed to remove the majority of posts that were flagged for hate speech. The watchdog has stated that the platform has become more toxic since being taken over by Elon Musk.
  • StateScoop: Minnesota announced its whole-of-state cybersecurity approach will distribute $23.5 million to help local governments, tribal nations, and school districts acquire the tools and resources needed to enhance their baseline cybersecurity capabilities. 
  • Bowling Green Daily News, Colorado Broadband Office, and Virginia Mercury: A number of states announced new or evolving plans for using federal funds to build out broadband. Colorado’s Broadband Office released their first proposal toward connecting 99% of state households. Kentucky continues to invest in broadband. And in Virginia, the state’s new plan seeks “functionally universal broadband access” by 2028. 

Featured Podcast


  • Tools and Weapons with Brad Smith
    Throughout her impressive career leading businesses, nonprofits, and now as the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman has been driven by a simple question: “What are we going to do about it?” This relentless focus on action propelled her as she transformed eBay from a fledgling startup into a global e-commerce powerhouse and guided her as CEO navigating HP through a high-stakes corporate split. In this episode, she shares how her mother’s experience becoming a certified airplane mechanic during WWII instilled in her the courage to take on big challenges, like building diplomatic bridges in Africa’s burgeoning Silicon Savannah. (U.S. Ambassador Meg Whitman: Leading with the right question – September 7, 2023)