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Foster Reintroduces Resolution to Fund Office of Technology Assessment

Apr 26, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Bill Foster (D-IL) and Congressman Mark Takano (D-CA) reintroduced a resolution to fund the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) will lead the resolution in the Senate. The Office of Technology Assessment provided Congress with nonpartisan policy advice and identified cost-effective areas for future investment that saved taxpayers billions of dollars. It was defunded in 1995, but it still remains a legally authorized organization.

“We now live in a world where technology has become increasingly important in our personal lives, workplaces, and democracy. Members of Congress need an organization that can adequately prepare good, nonpartisan policy recommendations on technical issues that affect us now and could impact us in the future,” Foster said. “From social media’s role in our elections to Artificial Intelligence and robots in the workplace, Congress is not adequately prepared to lead on technical issues that could have serious effects on our country’s future. The Office of Technology Assessment is the ideal organization to provide critical insight and assessments into the effects technology will have on our economy and everyday lives. The OTA will better prepare Congress to account for emerging technologies in the legislative process and allow us to make informed policy decisions that benefit our constituents and the country.”

“Congress desperately needs an education when it comes to technology. Far too often, this body goes with knee jerk reactions instead of crafting smart solutions to technical problems,” Senator Wyden said. “Reviving the Office of Technology Assessment as an independent body, dedicated to giving Congress nonpartisan advice would go a long way to filling that need.”

From 1974 to 1995, the OTA was governed by a Technology Assessment Board of six Senators and six Representatives, split evenly by party. OTA studies were requested either by the chair or ranking member of a committee or by the Technology Assessment Board or Director.

Text of the resolution is available here.