Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers Keynote
9:26PM Jan 26, 2021
Cathy McMorris Rodgers
Right now, after just a little bit of a technical delay, I want to introduce that the next keynote speaker that we have, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rogers has been a frequent speaker and keynoter at State of the Net, she keynoted, last year, as you may remember, in 2020, and she also keynoted back in 2015, so we're thrilled to have her back. Apparently today she just dropped her big tech accountability plan. So, hopefully she will discuss that.
Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers has held senior leadership positions in the Republican Party within the House of Representatives. Recently she has kind of left that leadership role to become more prominent on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, I think the previous speakers talked about how the Energy and Commerce Committee, or at least Senator Schatz spoke about how the Energy and Commerce Committee is just incredibly powerful and covers a broad swath of of issues, particularly the issues that we care about. It seems that she, just this year in December, became Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is a first for any, any woman to ever achieve that leadership role on that to me It says, historic achievement, and we're super, super proud to have her back. The other thing worth noting about Congresswoman Morris Rogers, is that while in office she's had three children and during COVID. Obviously women are struggling at home, especially with kids, dealing with parenting and schoolwork and everything like that. So, that is another reason why you know we're really super impressed with the congressman who represents the fifth District of Washington State. So with that, let me just queue up, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers.
Hello, and thank you everyone at State of the Net. I'm Cathy McMorris Rodgers I'm the Republican leader of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It's great to participate with all of you at State of the Net again this year. As we begin this new Congress, Republicans on Energy and Commerce are ready to work and unleash innovation so America wins the future in emerging tech. Our goal is to build on our efforts last year in our global competitiveness package that will reduce barriers to AI, Internet of Things, quantum computing, blockchain, unmanned delivery services and other emerging technologies. Although this started as a Republican only agenda last May, we built bipartisan support. Emerging tech and American leadership should not be a partisan issue. We have all a vested interest in seeing America lead, and thankfully we were able to get the American Compete act signed into law at the end of the year. But our work is just beginning. The America Compete Act including my leading bill, which is designed to promote the advancement of artificial intelligence. This bill, the Generating Artificial Iintelligence Network and Security Act, or the GAINS Act, directs the Department of Commerce to look at adoption barriers and spur development of AI.
It also includes an assessment of vulnerabilities in the AI supply chain, and asks the Department for recommendations to address identified risk, especially from China. China has very different values than we do. When it comes to emerging technologies, the Chinese Communist Party is actually using artificial intelligence to track down and suppress minorities, and they're empowering other authoritarian regimes. Such a behavior is evil. And we must work with our allies to counter China. Unfortunately I'm very concerned with what I'm seeing coming out of Europe. Europe is becoming increasingly protectionist by targeting American technology companies with digital service taxes and other initiatives designed solely to target our companies. I'm not happy -- I'm certainly not happy with big tech, but I believe we can still promote American global leadership, while not turning a blind eye to problems we see here at home. I call on our allies to work with us. We must ensure emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence are developed with Western values to counter and isolate China. It must be a collaborative approach.
But yet, by upholding our American values for human rights and dignity, we can use artificial intelligence as a force for good and save people's lives. We can and we must win the future in artificial intelligence. AI technology and deep learning algorithms can help us detect cancers earlier, and more quickly. Clinical trials are already making major breakthroughs to diagnose cancers, and AI has been a critical asset in combating the coronavirus by helping our top researchers and scientists speed up the development and the discovery of treatments and vaccines. What we're working on, this package of emerging tech, even before the coronavirus hit. The virus, and all the vulnerabilities it has exposed, made our global competitive agenda even more urgent. It's proof that only America is uniquely qualified to lead on forward thinking solutions that promote both consumer protection, innovation, and most importantly, human rights. The technologies I've mentioned already are just some examples.
But, there's also an autonomous vehicles, energy healthcare, and making sure that the United States continues to lead in the race to 5g. Over the past four years, Congress and the FCC under Chairman Pai's leadership have made significant progress in bringing the next generation of wireless communications to Americans. We've made unprecedented amounts of spectrum available to the private sector for commercial deployment, and the FCC recently completed the highest grossing spectrum auction in history. Congress also directed the FCC to auction 100 megahertz of valuable federal mid band spectrum in the three gigahertz band for commercial use by the end of the year. These are big steps forward, and we must continue this aggressive approach to maintain US leadership. We also established a new broadband grant program at NTIA to make sure unserved Americans get connected. Now, we must ensure that the money goes to where it's intended, and work to push permitting reforms to make sure that broadband and 5g infrastructure can get deployed as quickly as possible.
Enhancing our cyber security is also a top priority. The Solar Winds attack has highlighted this urgency. While I was pleased Congress passed, and President Trump signed into law, my extension of the US Safe Web Act to increase cooperation with foreign law enforcement authorities, it's clear that more needs to be done. Congress also funded the Secure and Trusted Communications Act to rip and replace network equipment that poses a national security threat. We look forward to working with the FCC to make sure the program is implemented as intended, and that our networks are secure. The security of our electrical grid is also a key priority for Energy and Commerce Republicans, the threats to our grid from foreign actors are real and constant. I was pleased to see the previous administration's Executive Order to protect the US bulk power system from cybersecurity threats, particularly components from foreign adversaries. Last month, the Department of Energy issued a follow up order specifically prohibiting certain utilities from procuring certain bulk power components from China, in order to diminish the ability of our foreign adversaries to target our critical electrical infrastructure. However, on his first day, President Biden issued an order freezing the deal, the Bulk Power Executive Order from last year. In the wake of a massive cybersecurity attack from a foreign actor on the DoE and other federal agencies, it is incredibly disappointing that President Biden has taken this action to weaken our grid. I hope that the Biden administration will reconsider that decision as quickly as possible, our grid is too critical to leave it vulnerable to hostile efforts of China and other foreign adversaries.
These critical issues put the House Energy and Commerce Committee at the center of the race to maintain American leadership and competitiveness. Our mission is to win the future, and keep America as the best place to make scientific breakthroughs, save lives, and raise people's standard of living. If we get these policies right, we can unleash, and create, a new era of innovation and entrepreneurship. As we get to work, this Congress will have innovators like you in mind. Don't hesitate to reach out and connect with me and my team.
Have a great State of the Net. Thank you.
Thank you. Congressman McMorris Rogers, that was great.