Congress needs a new committee that focuses exclusively on information technology, Rep. Bill Foster (D-Ill.) said Thursday at an event hosted by The Hill.
Foster, a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, told The Hill’s Steve Clemons that the growing IT sector means Congress needs more resources so that it can be nimble in its responses to issues facing the industry.
“Information technology has now just passed financial services as a fraction of the economy. And yet, there is no congressional standing committee on information technology,” Foster said at The Hill’s “Advancing Innovation: Technology Leading the Way” event.
Foster is also a member of the House Financial Services Committee, where he leads a special task force on artificial intelligence.
The Illinois Democrat on Thursday suggested reviving the Office of Technology Assessments, a congressional entity that provided lawmakers with objective analyses of technology until it was shuttered in 1995.
He also called for “a sort of fundamental reorganization of the way Congress works so that we can actually respond in real time with the depth of knowledge, thoughtfulness, and focus that information technology is going to need.”
.@RepBillFoster: “In congress, we have to organize ourselves better to deal with technology than we have” #TheHillTech https://t.co/Q92PsiWh3O pic.twitter.com/BZGe393YOV
– The Hill Events (@TheHillEvents) January 14, 2021
Foster also discussed some of what lies ahead for the U.S. government under the Biden administration, particularly with regard to technology and trade.
“I think our focus should not be so much at worrying specifically about any one country but worrying about the free world. I am more concerned with having our information technology infrastructure sourced in countries that we can trust rather than not having them built in China or other specific countries,” Foster said at the event sponsored by the Information Technology Industry Council.