President Biden Unveils Key AI Priorities in FY 2025 Budget Request

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On March 11, 2024, President Biden unveiled his fiscal year (FY) 2025 budget request, which includes funding to implement key directives outlined in his extensive executive order regulating artificial intelligence (AI EO) (see prior alert here), as well as other AI priorities across federal agencies.

The President’s budget request, which kicks off the FY 2025 congressional budget cycle, is the product of months of coordination with federal agencies, which have been engaged in internal budget planning for as much as 18 months before the start of the fiscal year, and the request serves as a statement of Administration policy and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year.

Despite the release of the President’s FY 2025 budget request, Congress continues to work on finalizing funding levels for FY 2024 via two tranches. On March 8, 2024, the Senate approved the first House-passed FY 2024 funding package to fund the Departments of Agriculture, Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Veterans Affairs, Interior, Commerce and Justice, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency. With respect to the second tranche of FY 2024 funding, lawmakers face a March 22 deadline to fund the remaining six spending bills—Defense, Financial Services and General Government, Homeland Security, Labor-Health and Human Services, Legislative Branch, and State and Foreign Operations.

In the meantime, lawmakers have begun to schedule Congressional hearings to examine agency-specific components of the President’s FY 2025 budget request. With respect to AI, the request invests $20 billion across major research agencies, an increase of $1.2 billion at the FY 2023 level, to boost American leadership in research and scientific discovery. The request also provides additional funding for federal agencies to establish agency Chief AI Officers (CAIOs), adopt new AI technologies to improve government services and establish minimum safeguards for government use of AI. In addition to this funding, the request also includes an additional $32 million for the U.S. Digital Service (USDS), General Services Administration (GSA) and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to support AI talent across the federal government.

Below, please find key agency-specific AI provisions in the President’s budget request.

U.S. Department of Commerce (Commerce; budget justification available here)

  • The budget request invests $65 million with Commerce to safeguard, regulate, and promote AI, and implement central components of the President’s AI EO, including an increase of $47.7 million in alignment with and to expand upon the sections of AI EO assigned to NIST:
    • U.S. AI Safety Institute (USAISI): Specifically, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) would establish the USAISI to operationalize NIST’s AI Risk Management Framework (RMF) by developing technical guidance for use by regulators considering rulemaking and enforcement on issues such as authentication, watermarking AI-generated content, mitigating against harmful algorithmic discrimination, ensuring transparency and enabling adoption of privacy-preserving AI.
    • AI Research, Standards, Implementation, and Testing: NIST will also enhance its ability to perform strategic research on AI systems’ safety and trustworthiness, initiate establishment of necessary testing infrastructure for AI models, develop technical guidance for transparency in AI systems and support organizations in implementing the AI RMF.

National Science Foundation (NSF; budget justification available here)

  • CHIPS: The budget request provides more than $2 billion for research and development (R&D) in critical emerging technology areas in alignment with CHIPS and Science Act priorities of boosting U.S. competitiveness in science and technology, including AI.
  • National AI Research Resource (NAIRR): The budget request also includes $30 million for the second year for a pilot of the NAIRR.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE; budget justification available here)

  • Frontier Safety: The budget request provides $455 million to extend the frontiers of AI for science and technology and to increase AI’s safety, security and resilience. DOE proposes that these funds be used to support the development of AI testbeds to build foundation models for energy security, national security and climate resilience, as well as tools to evaluate AI capabilities to generate outputs that may represent nuclear, nonproliferation, biological, chemical, critical-infrastructure and energy security threats or hazards. The funding also invests in continued support for training new researchers.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS; budget justification available here)

  • New AI Office: The budget request includes $5 million to open an office at DHS responsible for coordinating the Department’s use of AI, promoting AI innovation and managing risks from the use of AI.
  • Investments in Existing Programs: Additional AI funds are also requested for existing programs in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to ensure investment and expansion of the DHS AI mission.

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA; budget justification available here)

  • Implementation of AI EO: The request includes an increase of $1.4 million to support implementation of the AI EO.
  • Research and Education: The budget request includes a total of $3.8 billion for agricultural research, education and outreach, including a $365 million increase for agriculture research, extension and education grants to minority-serving land grant universities and tribal colleges, including for the responsible application of AI.
  • CAIO: The budget request also includes support for the duties of a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD; budget justification available here)

  • Implementation of AI EO: The request notes that HUD will continue implementation of the AI EO via a coordinated approach between the Office of the Chief Information Officer, Office of Policy Development and Research and Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO). OCFO will dedicate two additional positions to support the AI program at HUD during its initial stand-up.
  • Housing Discrimination: The budget request also provides funding for HUD to combat housing discrimination, including discrimination in tenant and homebuyer screening and advertising in furtherance of the AI EO.

U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ; budget justification available here)

  • Implementation of AI EO: The budget request also provides $2 million for DOJ to support implementation of the AI EO.

U.S. Department of Labor (DOL; budget justification available here)

  • New AI Office: The budget request includes $1 million in funding and six full-time employees for a new AI policy office at DOL to oversee and manage AI-related work at the Department. The office, led by a new Chief AI Officer, would guide the effective use of AI, promote AI innovation in DOL programs and help DOL agencies mitigate risk, as well as coordinate the AI-related activities across the Department.

U.S. Department of State (State; budget justification available here)

  • Implementation of AI EO: The President’s budget request includes approximately $20 million in targeted AI investments aligned with the goals outlined in the AI EO.

U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT; budget justification available here)

  • AI Office Staffing: The request also includes $552,000 for the creation of four new positions within the DOT’s Artificial Intelligence Office.
  • Enforcement of Vehicle Safety Standards: The request includes $1.7 million for investments in advanced tools for data analysis that will leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to address growth in data received by the Office of Defect Investigations.

U.S. Department of the Treasury (Treasury; budget justification available here)

  • CAIO: The budget request provides $312 million for Treasury’s Departmental Offices, an increase of $38 million, or a 14% increase above the 2023 level, to continue to rebuild staffing levels for Treasury’s core policy offices and support Treasury’s role in promoting investment security. This increase would also allow Treasury to support a Chief Artificial Intelligence Officer.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA; budget justification available here)

  • Investments in AI Research: The request includes $10 million to support the impact of VA research, including for pilot testing of novel tools and solutions to improve clinical care.
  • Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA): The request includes $4 billion in discretionary funding for VBA’s General Operating Expenses (GOE) account, which includes $2 million to invest in the use of AI.

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