From FCW:

But the problem runs deeper than the greying members of Congress, argued Kevin Kosar vice president for policy at the think tank R Street Institute.

“The success of a committee is driven in part by the members in Congress who are on it, and if they’re committed to doing the grubby, oversight activities… that don’t necessarily attract voter attention,” he said, adding, “the size and quality of a committee’s staff will greatly affect committee behavior.”

In 2001 the Judiciary Committee had “about 25 policy-focused staffers for every communications aide,” said Casey Burgat, a Governance Project fellow at R Street. “Now the ratio is closer to five-to-one.”

Kosar also noted that the staffs of nonpartisan congressional assistance entities, such as the Congressional Research Service and the Government Accountability Office, have seen their staff size decrease. And in the technology arena, that knowledge gap is even more glaring.

Congress once had the Office of Technology Assessment, an internal congressional think tank that produced reports on technical matters for lawmakers, but it was shuttered in the 1990s to cut costs.

Earlier this year, lawmakers attempted to revive OTA, which peaked at a budget of $20 million and a size of 140 staffers, but the bid failed on a mostly party-line vote in the House.

“Technology is kind of creating havoc with the jurisdiction of just about every committee because tech is touching just about everything,” said Kosar.

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