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Closing OTA: Transition in the 104th Congress

  • Peter D. Blair
Chapter
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Part of the Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy book series (STIPOL)

Abstract

The 1994 mid-term congressional elections resulted in a sweeping change in leadership of the 104th Congress. An ambitious Contract with America agenda included proposals for substantial reductions in federal spending, and singled out OTA, by far the smallest of the Congressional support agencies, for elimination as conveniently symbolic. While OTA built up considerable support from both sides of the aisle for its relatively narrow mission in the grand scope of Congress, the lack of a mission fully integrated with a well-established congressional process, a limited constituency among the rank and file members of Congress, a zero-sum game for operating budgets among the legislative branch support agencies at a time of deep budget cutting, and the convenience of being able to claim closure of an entire federal agency while sacrificing less than one percent of the Legislative Branch budget all together presented a perfect storm of forces that OTA and its supporters could not weather. OTA suspended operations in the fall of 1995, although the legislation authorizing the agency was never repealed.

Keywords

Support Agency Federal Spending Perfect Storm Sweeping Change Majority Leader 
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Notes

  1. 2.
    Edward H. Crane, “On My Mind: GOP Pussycats,” Forbes, November 13, 2000.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    See Kenneth J. Cooper, “Technology Office Spared as House Reverses Outcome of Disputed Roll Call,” Washington Post, June 23, 1994, p. A15 andGoogle Scholar
  3. Timothy J. Berger, “House Saves OTA Funds,” Roll Call, June 26, 1995, pp. 1 and 30.Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    Colleen Krueger, “Congress’ Own ‘Think Tank’ Falls Victim to Cuts by GOP,” Los Angeles Times, October 25. 1995.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    Office of Technology Assessment, Annual Report to the Congress: Fiscal Year 1994, OTA-A-544, 1995.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    M. Granger Morgan, “Death by Congressional Ignorance,” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 2, 1995.Google Scholar
  7. 9.
    Office of Technology Assessment, OTA Legacy, CD-ROM Collection (Vols. 1–5), GPO Stock No. 052–003-01457–2, Washington, DC: U.S. Govt. Printing Office, 1996 (available also in full text online at http://www.wws.princeton.edu/ota/).Google Scholar

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© Peter D. Blair 2013

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