Office of Technology Assessment [...]

At its peak, the OTA had an annual budget of about $20 million and around 140 permanent staffers who were supplemented when needed by subject-matter experts from outside. All of them together provided detailed research on everything from acid rain and sustainable agriculture to electronic surveillance and anti-ballistic missile programs.

The reports the OTA produced over the years were known for their rigor. “There was a lot of effort to make sure that the reports were really solid and had been vetted,” says Andrew Wyckoff, who managed the OTA’s Information, Telecommunications and Commerce program before the OTA’s demise. The OTA was so revered that the Washington Times once called it “the voice of authority in a city inundated with statistics and technical gobbledygook.” Other countries, such as the Netherlands, even sent representatives to DC to learn how it worked so they could replicate it back home.

There’s another reason lawmakers may not want to resurrect the OTA: A panel of independent experts, producing facts that contradict a lawmaker’s position, make it hard for a politician to deceive and sway the public.

To avoid politicization, the OTA was overseen by a bi-partisan board of 12 lawmakers—drawn equally from both parties in the House and Senate—who decided which projects OTA would tackle. Although the OTA occasionally proposed a research project on its own, the majority were requested by individual lawmakers or congressional committees. (Source)

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