A report from the R Street Institute, which has been pushing for the OTA’s comeback, noted that declining budgets for legislative offices mean that knowledgeable staffers to support members on tech issues are few and far between.
“In part, this is because roughly 40 percent of Capitol Hill staff are under 24 years of age and staff turnover is high, which inhibits the development of expertise,” the report stated.
“Today, very few members of Congress are expert in technological issues. So who can they turn to for nonpartisan advice? Mostly, the executive branch and private firms, each of whom have their own agendas and biases,” said R Street vice president for policy Kevin Kosar in an email to FCW. “On any other issue — budgeting, defense, postal policy — Congress can turn to nonpartisan experts at the Congressional Research Service, the Congressional Budget Office and the Government Accountability Office. But on technological issues Congress has few trusted resources.”