Congress is ignorant about technology, by its own admission, and has voted to stay that way. Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ) introduced an amendment that would have allocated $2.5 million to reboot the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), whose funding Newt Gingrich cut in 1995. The OTA, founded in 1972, saved taxpayers billions by recommending an overhaul of the Social Security Administration’s computer system and convincing Congress to cut back the synfuels program in the 1980s. Alas, Holt’s measure was defeated in a 164-248 vote. Now Congress will just have to go back to relying on lobbyists for technical advice.
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