'No consensus': House backs off of push for large-scale AI regulations


The House of Representatives will likely not take up legislation this year to establish a large-scale framework for the artificial intelligence (AI) industry.

House Majority Leader Steve Scalise, R-La., told Fox News Digital that AI development was in a stage where he was concerned that over-burdensome regulations could make the U.S. fall behind competitors like China.

“There’s no consensus right now,” Scalise said when asked about the likelihood of AI legislation. “Frankly, we shouldn’t be having some new regulatory structure, billions of taxpayer money, to do what the private sector is already doing. You know, and AI is a great example of how America’s leading the world in innovation, we don’t need to limit that growth by throwing a whole lot of new regulations on top of it to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

He signaled that a more targeted approach was possible, adding, “There’s problems and gaps in the law. Let’s take a look at those. But there are already existing laws to deal with some of the problems that you see there.”

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Congress is wrestling with the proper way to approach the artificial intelligence industry.

Those comments from the No. 2 leader in the House GOP, who helps lead the majority’s legislative agenda, came a month after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and his bipartisan AI working group unveiled a comprehensive report setting up a path to regulatory legislation in the relevant committees.

That report recommended spending at least $32 billion in taxpayer dollars annually on “non-defense” AI innovation.

Scalise said he was critical of the Senate’s approach.

“They’re trying to put regulations in place that would actually impede the growth of this industry,” he said. “Why would we want to cede ground to a country like China?”

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The House’s own bipartisan AI task force is working on putting together a report with policy recommendations for the rapidly advancing technology. 

Republicans on that panel also raised concerns about the Senate’s AI framework in a closed-door meeting with Scalise late last week, a source in the room told Fox News Digital.

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House Majority Leader Steve Scalise suggested large-scale regulations are not necessary at the moment. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The source said it seemed “clear” at the meeting that GOP lawmakers would not support legislation establishing new agencies or licensing requirements for AI, and are wary of any approach that “creates burdens on new developers.”

It puts the House and Senate in opposing positions on the issue, dimming the possibility of congressional action on AI this year.

House AI task force Chair Rep. Jay Obernolte, R-Calif., told Fox News Digital the meeting with Scalise went well.

“He was making it clear where he is with respect to universal licensing requirements, spinning up new federal agencies, new bureaucracy,” Obernolte said.

The California Republican pointed out that AI has been “a remarkably bipartisan issue” and suggested that the House could still see some narrow, targeted AI legislation get a vote.

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“We have a short list of, we think, easy, basic bills on AI that solve more urgent problems that we think we can get done this year. And I will be having a discussion with Mr. Scalise about those bills,” he said.

Rep. French Hill, R-Ark., another member of the task force, agreed with Scalise’s approach. Hill said it was “premature” to roll out an approach similar to the European Union, which rolled out a wide-ranging framework that would set strict standards for AI companies and the technology’s use. 

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Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., proposed a comprehensive AI framework. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

“I think our view should be, let’s look at it sector by sector and prioritize what can we do under existing law and existing supervisory environments by area…and assess what kind of legislative effort we really need,” Hill said. “I don’t think we’re prepared to roll out some big overarching European-style artificial intelligence regulatory scheme.”

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This Congress has seen a flurry of AI legislation from both sides of the aisle. Increased accessibility to sophisticated AI models like ChatGPT and DeepAI has spurred a new and growing problem of “deepfake” content presented as real, particularly involving the November elections and consumer-targeted scams.

However, AI has also been critical to advancements in healthcare, defense technology and other sectors.

Fox News Digital reached out to Schumer’s office for comment on Scalise’s opposition.



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