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House Bill to Form Tech-Focused Executive Branch Agency, Increase Public R&D Funding; Rep. Ro Khanna Quoted

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Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., has introduced a bill that would establish an independent agency focused on technology within the executive branch and increase U.S. government funding for tech-related research and development efforts to 1 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, Nextgov reported Tuesday.

The proposed measure would create the Federal Institute of Technology (FIT) and under this independent agency, up to 30 “local boards” would be formed in areas lacking major tech centers, according to a copy of the bill obtained by the publication.

FIT would help distribute funds across federal, local and state agencies to advance research into artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, telecommunications, blockchain, biotechnology and other tech areas.

“Various agencies focus on these topics tangentially but this new agency would have the sole focus on promoting emerging technologies, innovation jobs and research funding,” Khanna told the publication in an email.

Other provisions of the bill are tax incentives for organizations that hire through FIT programs and support for educational programs aimed at advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Reps. Suzan DelBene, D-Wash., Nanette Diaz Barragan, D-Calif., and Dwight Evans, D-Pa., co-sponsored the proposed legislation.