FY20 Budget Proposal
On Monday, the White House rolled out the President’s $4.7 trillion FY20 budget proposal, which includes $8.6 billion for a border wall and increases defense spending by $750 billion, or 5%. It also proposes a 9% cut to all non-defense programs, including a $845 billion cut to Medicare. Over the coming weeks, Cabinet secretaries and agency heads will testify in support of the request before the House and Senate Appropriations Committees and the various authorizing committees, but Congress will craft and pass its own spending bills.
The President and Congress are marking St. Patrick’s Day today. This morning, the President welcomed Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to the White House before they attended the annual Friends of Ireland luncheon at the Capitol.
The Senate spent the early part of the week on executive branch and judicial nominations before taking up a resolution on Wednesday to withdraw U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The resolution passed 54-46 and is likely to result in the President’s first veto. Earlier today, the Senate also voted 59-41 to adopt a House-passed resolution to end the President’s emergency declaration to direct funds to build a border wall. That resolution is also expected to draw a veto that Congress does not have the votes to override, likely sending the issue to the courts. In the meantime, the House voted 420-0 this morning to approve a non-binding resolution to publicly release the Mueller report. Four Republican members voted present.
Senate Artificial Intelligence Caucus Officially Launches
This week, Senators Portman (R-OH) and Heinrich (D-NM) officially launched the Senate Artificial Intelligence (AI) Caucus with Senators Schatz (D-HI), Gardner (R-CO), Peters (D-MI), and Ernst (R-IA) as founding members. The Caucus will foster dialogue between lawmakers and the executive branch, industry, and academia to develop “policy that balances AI’s risks and rewards to ensure the competitiveness of the U.S. economy, while maintaining important ethical standards.”
Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act
Senators Thune (R-SD) and Wyden (D-OR) and Reps. Cohen (D-TN) and Ratcliffe (R-TX) reintroduced The Digital Goods and Services Tax Fairness Act (S. 765 and H.R. 1725) on Wednesday to prevent digital goods and services such as movies, apps, and music from double or discriminatory taxation not applied to tangible goods.
CHANCE in Tech Act
Bipartisan, bicameral lawmakers introduced legislation this week aimed at alleviating the skills gap in the technology sector by providing federal grants to state tech associations and other industry intermediaries to develop apprenticeships. The Championing Apprenticeships for New Careers and Employees in Technology (CHANCE in Tech) Act (S. 777 and H.R. 1733) is sponsored by Senators Gardner (R-CO), Heinrich (D-NM), Markey (D-MA), and Moran (R-KS) and Reps. Moulton (D-MA) and Herrera Beutler (R-WA).
Read more in our Emerging Technologies Washington Update.