The Senate minority leader said Tuesday he has discussed legislation that would create a new office to invest $100 billion in AI research over five years and fund technology efforts in industry, at universities and several agencies, including the Pentagon.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told attendees at a National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI) event on Tuesday the proposal is not “firmed up,” while noting the plan would create a new subsidiary within the National Science Foundation that would work along with DARPA to fund basic research in AI, as well as 5-G, quantum computing and other emerging technologies.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

 “We all know that artificial intelligence is changing everything,” Schumer said. “It’s going to have a huge impact on national security and, if American can get AI right, we’ll be the ones to maintain a national security edge on our adversaries. But the converse is also true. We may lose that edge if we don’t get it right or if we’re complacent and let others get ahead of us.”

Schumer compared the push for AI to the space race, and said the plan has “received support from people close to the president and [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), but thus far been unable to get their full-throated support.”

“This should be bipartisan. This should not be a partisan issue. This is about the future of America. This should not be a political issue. This should be, sort of with greater importance, like putting a man on the moon,” Schumer said. 

The new foundation would look to bolster research and development in AI emerging applications, which Schumer said is critical to maintaining a technological edge over China and Russia.

“We will do better, dollar-for-dollar, than the Chinese government in investing in AI. But if they outspend us three, four, five to one, which they’re doing now, we’ll fall behind in five or 10 years and we’ll rue the day,” Schumer said.