Previous posts have discussed the congressional lobotomy: the shrinkage of GAO and CRS, along with the defunding of OTA
At LegBranch.org, Kevin Kosar writes about ways of improving Congress's ability to deliberate about technological issues.
Inarguably, GAO is doing exactly what it thinks it should do — bolster its technological assessment capacity. Yet, not everyone is thrilled with the prospect of GAO becoming Congress’ go-to source for technology assessment. GAO, they note, has been doing tech assessments for a long time, and they just are not the same as the big think studies that OTA did. They remind us that GAO is first and foremost an agency known for producing audits and legal opinions. So the culture and methodology for GAO’s thinking about technological and scientific matters is different than it is at a place staffed by scientists — which OTA was. GAO, they also note, mostly responds to committee chairmen and legal directives to produce their work. OTA, on the other hand, did a great deal of responding to individual legislators and staff, who often needed primers and tutorials.