Portman, Peters Bipartisan Bill to Ensure Federal Government is Prepared for Catastrophic Risks to National Security Advances in Senate

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Gary Peters (D-MI), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, announced today that the Committee has passed their Global Catastrophic Risk Mitigation Act. The bipartisan legislation will ensure the United States government is better prepared for high-consequence events, regardless of their low probability, by establishing an interagency committee for risk assessment that would report on the adequacy of continuity of operations (COOP) and continuity of government (COG) plans for each risk identified. It would also help counter the risk of artificial intelligence (AI) and other emerging technologies from being abused in ways that may pose a catastrophic risk. 

The federal government is not prepared for unlikely yet catastrophic events like AI systems gone awry, new strains of disease, biotechnology accidents, or naturally occurring risks such as super volcanoes or solar flares. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that there are deadly risks over the horizon for which we are not prepared,” said Senator Portman. “Whether it is new strains of disease or runaway uses of emerging technology like artificial intelligence, some of these risks may be catastrophic to our country. I’m pleased this bipartisan legislation was passed by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee to help ensure the federal government effectively prepares and plans for these low probability yet high impact risks.” 

“The federal government must be prepared to protect Michiganders and people across the nation from even the most unlikely of threats,” said Senator Peters. “This bipartisan legislation, which has now advanced in the Senate, will bolster national security by ensuring our nation has a plan to effectively respond to and recover from incredibly destructive threats that can be hard to foresee.”