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Foster, Chaffetz Send Bipartisan Letter Urging Speaker Ryan to Restore Office of Technology Assessment

Dec 11, 2015
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Representatives Bill Foster (IL-11), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and 13 Members of Congress sent a bipartisan letter to Speaker Ryan asking for his support for the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). Congress created the OTA in 1972 to provide Congress with nonpartisan analysis of scientific and technical issues, but closed when it was defunded in 1995.

A copy of the letter is available here.

“So much of what we consider before Congress today has complex, technical components that deserve complex, technical analyses. We may have deep philosophical differences over issues, and that debate is important, but if we’re not starting on sound technical and scientific footing, then it’s all just tilting at windmills. Restoring the Office of Technology Assessment will bring a much needed dose of logic and reason to Congress,” said Foster.    

The letter says:

The OTA's 24-year body of work encompasses some 750 reports and assessments on issues as far ranging as arms control to shale technologies to bioterrorism. These reports contributed to the security and economic growth of our nation by providing timely and forward-looking analysis of technological threats and opportunities.

The expertise provided by the OTA saved taxpayers billions of dollars by identifying cost-effective areas for future investment, and avoiding wasted money on technologies and policies that did not and could not work. As technology continues to advance and budgets continue to shrink, this kind of trustworthy, non-partisan analysis is no less necessary today than when the OTA was first started 43 years ago. 

As technology continues to develop and spread at an increasingly rapid pace and our partisan divide seems to grow deeper, Congress needs this now more than ever. We urge you to support funding to reinstate Office of Technology Assessment to once again give legislators access to the non-partisan technical expertise we need to make prudent policy decisions.

The bipartisan letter was signed by 15 Members of Congress, including: Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), John Conyers (D-MI), Jim Costa (D-CA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Donna F. Edwards (D-MD), Elizabeth Esty (D-CT), Blake Farenthold (R-TX), Alan Grayson (D-FL), Mike Honda (D-CA), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), Jim McGovern (D-MA), Mark Takano (D-CA).