Researcher and Writer in Washington, DC

Posts in category Congress

Making sure Congress is not outgun...

Making sure Congress is not outgunned

I enjoyed reading the response essays of Will Rinehart, Betsy Hawkings and Berin Szóka. They all make good points and bring valuable facts and ideas to the discussion. On the most macroscopic level, all of us seem to agree that Congress is ill-equipped to oversee, let alone make, good policy on highly scientific or technological […]

Today: Oversight hearing on the Congressional Research Serv...

Today: Oversight hearing on the Congressional Research Service

The House Committee on Administration is holding a hearing on the Congressional Research Service (CRS) at 10am today. The hearing may be viewed online. The CRS is critical to the functioning of Congress. Its analysts and information specialists help congressional staff make policy and oversee the executive and judicial branches. Its importance cannot be understated, and the […]

Why members of Congress should get a raise, whether they deserve it or ...

Why members of Congress should get a raise, whether they deserve it or not

You’ve surely heard the old line, “The best Congress money can buy.” Typically, it’s said sardonically. In the classic formulation, it’s not your money doing the buying. It’s special interests and lobbyists forking over the dough. In exchange, they get the best Congress they can buy – for them. But what if it were your money? How […]

Want to shrink government? Invest in making Congress smar...

Want to shrink government? Invest in making Congress smarter

Barely one in five Americans approve of the way Congress is operating. It is overwhelmingly clear that Congress needs to do a better job of understanding complex policy issues, being responsive to communications from the American people, and overseeing the 170-some agencies of the executive branch. Thankfully, after decades of institutional decline, Congress is finally taking steps to revitalize itself. In January, the […]

Congress’ tech policy knowledge ...

Congress’ tech policy knowledge gap

“Suppose you were an idiot,” Mark Twain once quipped, “and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself.” Like Twain, libertarians tend not to think highly of elected officials. We view them as corrupt, in cahoots with interest groups, and obsessed with politicking instead of governing. And, as Twain quipped, dumb. Oh, so, […]

GAO versus the ghost of OTA: Who will win the science and technology assessment ra...

GAO versus the ghost of OTA: Who will win the science and technology assessment race?

Hardly anyone would argue that Congress is well equipped to make technology policy. Very few members are techies, and let’s face it, innovation is hurtling forward at a mind-blowing pace. Nor is Congress and its basic modus operandi — serving as a bargaining arena for diverse interests — particularly congenial to the use of data […]

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