Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) has a long record supporting federal union issues and looking to check the power of government and private sector tech surveillance.
Sen. Harris speaks in New York City, April 5, 2019 (Photo credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock)
The largest federal employee union endorsed presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's pick of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for the number two slot on the ticket.
"Senator Harris has been a proven fighter for working people throughout her career," American Federation of Government Employees National President Everett Kelley said in a statement. "She has a strong voting record on the issues that matter to federal and D.C. government employees and to workers across the nation, with past 100% ratings from both AFGE and the AFL-CIO," he added.
In a July 2018 hearing, Harris warned that the proposed merger of the Office of Personnel Management into the General Services Administration would "make HR policy for career staff a function of politics."
Harris also lent her name to efforts to put checks on the use of facial recognition technology at properties subsidized by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, boost election funding aid to states, establish agency bug bounties and crack down on cybersecurity flaws in Defense Department weapons systems.
As a presidential candidate, Harris backed the Digital Service Act of 2019, which would give the head of the U.S. Digital Service the authority to disperse $15 million in grants to states and municipalities to carry out government service delivery projects. The bill also authorizes $50 million in annual funding for USDS to carry out its operations.
Harris also signed on as a co-sponsor of the AI in Government Act, a bill to try to address opportunities and challenges brought by artificial intelligence. The bill would establish a Center of Excellence at GSA to share technical knowledge and conduct research and charge the OPM with creating an occupational category for AI workers. Additionally, the bill tasked agencies with setting up governance plans to push AI while being mindful of civil liberties, privacy and civil rights.