Passed out of committee with strong bipartisan support

(Washington, D.C.)—Today, the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee by a voice vote. The bill, introduced by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI), 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 people who interact with federal agencies and ensure confidentiality. This is the first time the bill has moved out of Senate committee since its introduction in 2014; the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved the bill last month.


“I am glad to see this bipartisan bill take another important step forward toward becoming law and helping to make government work better for the people it serves,” said Senator Patty Murray. "This bill will help give Congress more tools to make better policy decisions across the federal budget and tax code, and I am going to keep working until it gets signed into law.”


Specifically, the commission would determine whether the federal government should establish a clearinghouse for program and survey data, which qualified researchers from both the private and public sector could access and use 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.


For more information on the bill, click here. For the text of the bill, click here.