Sending Office: Takano, Mark
Sent By:
adrienne.castro@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague:

Please join us in supporting the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in the Fiscal Year 2020 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill.

For more than two decades the OTA provided relevant, unbiased technical and scientific assessments for Members of Congress and staff. The OTA is still authorized, but the office was defunded in 1995, stripping Congress of a valuable resource that understood
both emerging technologies as well as the intricacies of the legislative process and the needs of policy makers. In its absence, the need for the OTA has only grown. A restored OTA could help Congress develop thoughtful, targeted policy around emerging technologies,
including autonomous vehicles and face recognition.

Our letter urges the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee to begin restoring funding, from within the Subcommittee’s allocation, to the OTA. Restoring 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 nation.

We hope you will join us in supporting the restoration of the OTA. If you would like to sign on please fill out the form here. With questions or for more information please contact Adrienne
Castro with Rep. Takano at adrienne.castro@mail.house.gov or Susannah Howieson with Rep. Foster at susannah.howieson@mail.house.gov.

Sincerely,

Mark Takano                                                              Bill Foster               
Member of Congress                                                 Member of Congress  

 

LETTER TEXT:

March X, 2019

The Honorable Nita Lowey
Chairwoman
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
H-307, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Tim Ryan
Chairman
Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch
U.S. House of Representatives
H-307, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Kay Granger
Ranking Member
Committee on Appropriations
U.S. House of Representatives
H-307, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jaime Herrera Beutler
Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch
U.S. House of Representatives
H-307, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairwoman Lowey, Chairman Ryan, and Ranking Members Granger and Herrera Beutler,

We are writing to urge you to begin restoring funding to the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) in the Fiscal Year 2020 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill. For more than two decades the OTA provided relevant, unbiased technical and scientific assessments
for Members of Congress and staff. Today, a restored OTA would offer policy makers the tools to tackle and understand new technological developments and their public policy implications.

The OTA is still authorized, but the office was defunded in 1995, stripping Congress of a valuable resource that understood both emerging technologies as well as the intricacies of the legislative process and the needs of policy makers. The OTA is unique
in that its mission enables it to conduct in-depth analysis with extensive input from external experts providing forward-looking and comprehensive assessment of new technologies.

In its absence, the need for the OTA has only grown. Over twenty years after OTA was defunded, Congress is grappling with questions around how to encourage innovation while minimizing the potential harms of new technologies. A restored OTA could help Congress
develop thoughtful, targeted policy around emerging technologies, including autonomous vehicles and face recognition. As complex advances in science and technology continue, Congress should have access to OTA’s thorough and nonpartisan analysis to help us
find the right path forward.

Funding the OTA is a wise investment for the future. In the last year it operated, the total budget for the OTA was $23 million, but the savings that the OTA has created for the federal government have gone well beyond that level. Recommendations from a
study on computer upgrades at the Social Security Administration led to a savings of over $350 million, and studies on the Synthetic Fuel Corporation led to its repeal, saving the federal government tens of billions of dollars.

We ask that you begin restoring funding, from the Subcommittee’s allocation, to the OTA Account for startup costs to begin rebuilding the office in Fiscal Year 2020. These funds will better prepare Congress to account for emerging technologies in the legislative
process and allow us to make informed policy decisions. Thank you for your consideration and your leadership on the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee.

 

Sincerely,

 

________________                                                          ________________ 

Mark Takano                                                                     Bill Foster
Member of Congress                                                        Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Rules/Legislative Branch, Science, Technology

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