New Call for the Office of Technology Assessment

A bipartisan effort to resurrect the former Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)—a group that aimed to offer unbiased scientific, technical information to Congress and assist lawmakers with complicated decisions—has yet to yield fruit.

08/15/2002


A bipartisan effort to resurrect the former Office of Technology Assessment (OTA)—a group that aimed to offer unbiased scientific, technical information to Congress and assist lawmakers with complicated decisions—has yet to yield fruit.

Even though national security concerns have reached new heights, and the original Congressional proposal to re-establish the office has been scaled back from $20 million to $4 million, the bill has yet to emerge from committee in the House.

According to Wired News , the Republicans who, in 1995, led the effort to discontinue the OTA claimed that “the office operated with a left-wing bias.” However, OTA supporters posit that the office never made policy recommendations, but rather presented factual information.

Then—and now—the value of services rendered would be very significant, say supporters. “It could help Congress understand, say, the power infrastructure of the United States, or what would happen if a chemical plant were attacked,” said Jack Gibbons, a former director of the OTA.

Although supporters plan is to re-introduce the legislation next session—and attempt to add to its 86 co-sponsors—OTA’s fate remains in question.





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