Weekly Round[s] Up: September 4-17, 2023
We are back in Washington after a great in-state work period spent in South Dakota. I was able to host roundtables, attend events and visit with South Dakotans from all across the state, including Sioux Falls, Mitchell, Aberdeen, Presho, Lake Preston, Rapid City, Custer and Pierre. It was great to catch up with so many of you back home. I was able to spend time with my kids and grandkids, seeing them in their school activities like cross country. I also attended my 50-year class reunion in Pierre earlier this month. It’s always great to be in South Dakota, but we’re ready to get back to work in Washington.
Our first week back was short due to the Labor Day holiday, so I’ve combined the last two weeks for you below – and this past week was a big one here on Capitol Hill, in large part focused on artificial intelligence (AI). I had the opportunity to moderate our AI Insight forum with leaders from the industry to discuss AI and its challenges. More on all of that in my Weekly Round[s] Up:
Meetings this past week: General David W. Allvin, nominee to be Chief of Staff of the Air Force; Michelle Bowman, member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve; Admiral Lisa Franchetti, current Vice Chief of Naval Operations and nominee to be Chief of Naval Operations; Anna Gomez nominee to be FCC Commissioner; Gary Cohn, Vice chairman of IBM; Ryan McInerney, CEO of Visa; Tom Wilson, CEO of Allstate; Nick Clegg, President of Global Affairs at Meta (Facebook); Clement Delangue, CEO of Hugging Face; and Fei-Fei Li, Co-Director at Stanford University’s Human-Centered AI Institute. I spoke to Business Roundtable’s Technology Committee about our AI Insights forum.
We had our weekly Senate Prayer Breakfast, where Senator Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico was our speaker.
South Dakota groups I visited with: Members of the South Dakota Farmers Union from Aberdeen, Cavour, Clark, Dallas, De Smet, Elk Point, Huron, Ipswich, Lake Preston, Miller, Mitchell, Pierre, Salem and Wessington Springs.
Artificial Intelligence (AI): This past Wednesday, I moderated an AI Insight forum with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and co-hosted with Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) as part of our bipartisan AI working group. This panel had leaders from the tech industry that creates AI, including former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Meta (Facebook) CEO Mark Zuckerberg, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman, former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and many others. These leaders sat on a panel in front of dozens of senators and answered all of our most pressing questions about the future of AI, namely the future of AI regulation and Congress’s role in it. I had the opportunity to moderate the afternoon session of this panel, and give opening remarks in the morning, which you can read here.
Though the details of the future of AI are still taking shape, and any legislation will work through traditional committees, the panel provided important context as the conversation continues.
Headline of the week: Here's what GOP Sen. Mike Rounds told Musk, Zuckerberg, other experts at closed-door Senate AI Forum (Fox News)
Topics discussed: Artificial intelligence (of course), issues facing our South Dakota farmers and ranchers and the B-21 Raider stealth bomber coming to Ellsworth Air Force Base.
Votes taken: 17 – Most of these were on nominees to executive positions within branches of the federal government.
Hearings: Six - I had two hearings in each of these committees: the Select Committee on Intelligence, the Banking committee and the Armed Services committee. In one of them, we heard from the nominee to be Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Allvin. I had the opportunity to ask him about the B-21 Raider stealth bomber coming to Ellsworth Air Force Base. You can watch that exchange here.
Classified briefings: I had one classified briefing – our bi-weekly cyber education seminar.
My staff in South Dakota visited: Aberdeen, Beresford, Brookings, Chamberlain, Dakota Dunes, Hartford, Hot Springs, North Sioux City, Rapid City and Sioux Falls.
Steps taken this past week: Week 1: 57,821 or 26.94 miles; Week 2: 60,609 or 33.8 miles
Video of the Week: Last week, I joined Fox & Friends to talk about the AI Insight forum: