(Washington, D.C.)—Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) applauded the passage in the House of Representatives of the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act that she wrote with Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). Their bill would establish a 15-member commission to study how best to expand the use of data to evaluate the effectiveness of federal programs and tax expenditures. The commission would also study how best to protect the privacy rights of individuals and ensure confidentiality. Now that it has passed the full House of Representatives and a key Senate Committee, the next step would be for the full Senate to take it up and pass it so it can be sent to the President for his signature.
“Making sure federal investments and tax expenditures are working as well as possible for families across the country should never be a partisan issue, so I commend Rep. Paul Ryan for his hard work passing our bill through the House of Representatives today,” said Senator Patty Murray. “I am going to keep working to pass this bill through the Senate and send it to the President’s desk so that Congress can have more tools to make sure our government is working for all families.”
Specifically, the commission would determine whether the federal government should establish a clearinghouse for program and survey data, what data should be included in the clearinghouse, and which qualified researchers from both the private and public sector could access the data to perform program evaluations and policy-relevant research. By coordinating data across federal programs and tax expenditures, and giving researchers greater access to that data, federal agencies would gain a better grasp of how effective they are, and lawmakers would gain a better grasp of how to improve them.
The bill passed through the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee by a voice vote on June 24, 2015.