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Lobbyists are scrambling to put their imprint on federal oversight of artificial intelligence and grappling with its influence on their own profession even as they predict robot lobbyists will likely remain in the realm of science fiction.
Some lobbyists say they’re willing to embrace generative AI. They have begun to experiment with it to ease tedious and time-consuming tasks, such as legislative analysis, background research, and drafting client memos. Others, eyeing it with trepidation, say they’re holding off to see how it evolves.
Lobbying in the future, they predict, will still hinge largely on human connections and relationships — the kind cultivated over late-night deal-making in congressional offices or grueling, junk-food-fueled weeks on the campaign trail.
Still, lobbyists are reckoning with possible dramatic shifts in how they, and the officials they seek to influence, do their jobs.
“AI will never replace the human element of lobbying,” said Andy Rosenberg, a founder of the lobbying firm Thorn Run Partners. “But with regard to our business, and the way we service our clients, we have to embrace it.”
Health care, financial services, and technology companies are all looking to influence Capitol Hill and the executive branch on whether and how to regulate AI. It’s a hot topic in Congress. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) is hosting a who’s who of executives, including Tesla’s Elon Musk, Sept. 13 for a forum on AI.
The rise of social media and online activism, even the Zoom advocacy of the Covid pandemic, has not supplanted in-person lobbying. Veteran lobbyists say they don’t expect AI will, either, at least not anytime soon. Kate Ackley explains why.
- President Joe Biden arrives in New Delhi, India today for a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of the G-20 summit tomorrow.
- The House and Senate return next week.
Happening on Capitol Hill
Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-N.Y.) said there’s a “likely chance” the government will shut down early next month, in an interview on Bloomberg TV.
The White House withdrew its nominee for an Energy Department posting, ending a months-long standoff and handing a win to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has protested the agency’s plans to regulate gas stoves.
Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) called yesterday for cooperation with House colleagues to push through a bipartisan tax package instead of one advanced by House Republicans in June.
A candidate to fill the Republican vacancy at the National Labor Relations Board has been sent to the White House and will receive Senate consideration, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Ala.) said yesterday.
People, Politics, and Power
Walt Disney narrowed its federal lawsuit against Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) and his political allies to focus only on a First Amendment claim that DeSantis retaliated against the company for criticizing his policies.
Conservative law professor John Eastman used unreliable information to substantiate his unproven claims of fraud in the 2020 presidential election, California State Bar prosecutors argued yesterday.
The rise of AI in tracking and evaluating workers for employment decisions is prompting some lawmakers to act to curb its power in the workplace.
Miami Mayor Francis Suarez returned to his post at Quinn Emanuel after suspending his long-shot run for the White House.
What Else We’re Watching
Texas doesn’t have to immediately remove a floating barrier in the Rio Grande installed to help prevent illegal crossings from Mexico, a federal appeals court ruled.
The Biden administration declared a power emergency in Texas amid soaring electricity demand sparked by a brutal heat wave. An order issued by the Energy Department yesterday allows the state’s grid operator to waive some air pollution limits so generators can produce more power. It is in effect until 9 p.m. local time today.
The Commerce Department has begun an official probe into an advanced made-in-China chip housed within Huawei’s latest smartphone, a revelation that’s set off a debate in Washington about the efficacy of sanctions intended to contain a geopolitical rival.
Frustration is boiling over in Democratic strongholds as thousands of asylum-seeking migrants overwhelm shelters, social services, and budgets. The situation is also becoming a divisive issue going into the 2024 election. Polls show that one of Biden’s biggest political vulnerabilities among his base is the administration’s handling of immigration.
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