EnGadget: Congress is getting in on the AR and VR hype too

May 4, 2017
In The News

While we don't tend to think of government as very tech-savvy, a new caucus formed in the US House of Representatives shows just how important the field itself has become. A new bipartisan group has been announced and is co-chaired by Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Bill Flores (R-Texas), Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) and Ted Lieu (D-Calif.). This "Reality Caucus" plans to "foster information sharing between Congress and our nation's world-leading technology industry" in the areas of virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies for the current 115th Congress.

Luckily, the leaders of this new caucus are no strangers to science and technology. Yvette Clarke's HR 511 bill requested funding for various governmental science agencies, including the National Science Foundation, the DaDepartmentf Energy's Office of Science and the National Institute of Standards and Technology along with funding for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education. Suzan DelBene sponsored HR 1123 - Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, which sought to allow people to unlock their mobile phones. Bill Flores and Darrell Issa voted yes on the EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act of 2017 to prevent members of the EPA from receiving grants from the same institution. Ted Lieu, who's been hilariously trolling Trump on Twitter, voted against both the EPA Science Board Reform Act as well as S J Res 34, which sought congressional disapproval of the FCC's plan to protect consumer privacy.

Whether you agree with their specific stances or not, at least this group of co-chairs seems fairly well-informed. The current executive branch doesn't seem too forward thinking around science or technology, but at least some of the co-chairs appear to. As Congressman Lieu said last year in regards to the Information Technology Modernization Act, "A 21st century government depends on technology to serve the people..." Having an informed congressional caucus dedicated to even just a slice of tech like virtual and augmented reality bodes well for all of us.