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The Office of Technology Assessment is on the budget block again.

In this case, the lord high executioner is Sen. Mack Mattingly (R) of Georgia. The office, set up in 1972 to help Congress assess the effects of new technology, relies heavily on consultants--and that means spending big money.

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Mattingly tried to kill OTA funds last year, only to be foiled by Sen. Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska. Undaunted, Mattingly is trying again. Cutting Senate spending is one of his pet causes. He's serious about reducing Senate expenses--to the consternation of many colleagues.

Still, Senate observers say the probable outcome will be a repeat of 1981: OTA funds will merely be cut, not cut off.

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