News Releases

Bipartisan evidence-based policymaking commission was created by Senator Murray and Speaker Ryan in 2016

While Congress is stuck in gridlock, Senator Murray continues to work on ways to make progress and make government work better for families and communities

Senator Murray commits to working with Ryan and others to make progress on Commission’s recommendations: this isn’t the end of the story—it’s just the beginning”

Read the Commission’s final report HERE

(Washington, D.C.) –  Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) joined Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and members of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking at a press conference to release the Commission’s final report and recommendations. In her remarks, Senator Murray discussed the importance of using evidence and data in policymaking, how the legislation creating the Commission with Speaker Ryan came together, and what she sees as the path forward to make sure government is working as well as possible for the people it serves.

“No matter what any of us think about government in general, and no matter what we may think about programs or investments in particular, surely we should be able to agree that we should all do everything we can to make them work as well as possible,” Senator Murray said today. “Not just by wishing for it, and not just letting blind ideology or partisanship guide the way or undermine policies that help people—but by using evidence, facts, science—making sure our policies are aligned with what we know works, and what we know doesn’t...It’s not just about dollars and cents, but also hope and trust, and policymakers owing it to the people we represent to rigorously examine and continuously improve our government and its programs.”

The idea to work together to create this Commission came out of conversations between Senator Murray and Speaker Ryan following their work together to pass their Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. On election night in 2014, after a highly partisan campaign season, Speaker Ryan and Senator Murray talked to each other and decided to do something to show that Democrats and Republicans could still work together. From this conversation came the decision to work together on the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act - a bill to create a bipartisan commission to make recommendations for how the federal government could better use data and evidence to improve programs and spending through the tax code.

Senator Murray’s full remarks at today’s report release:

“Thank you so much Speaker Ryan. And thank you Ron and Katharine—and the entire Commission, for everything you’ve done to pull together this fantastic report.

“You know, people across the country haven’t been looking at Congress in recent years and thinking to themselves—‘wow—those people are sure getting a whole lot done!’ And they certainly aren’t looking at what is happening here and thinking—‘wow—they are really using a whole lot of evidence in their decision-making!’

‘Well—after the government shut down in 2013—and after Speaker Ryan and I worked together on a two-year budget deal to pause the chaos and dysfunction—we wanted to keep working to address these issues. We wanted to show people that bipartisan work was possible—and necessary—even in these too-often partisan times. And we wanted to do what we could to give government the tools it needed to work smarter—and better—for the people it’s supposed to serve.

“That is why I was so happy to work with Speaker Ryan on the legislation creating this Commission—and it’s why I am so excited about the report being released today.

“Here is why I am so passionate about evidence-based policymaking—and why I think this work is so important. Because no matter what any of us think about government in general—and no matter what we may think about programs or investments in particular—surely we should be able to agree that we should all do everything we can to make them work as well as possible. Not just by wishing for it, and not just letting blind ideology or partisanship guide the way or undermine policies that help people—but by using evidence…facts…science—making sure our policies are aligned with what we know works—and what we know doesn’t.  And not just out of respect for those who are being served—government’s customers—though that is critical. But also out of respect for citizens who put their faith in policymakers to get this right.  It’s not just about dollars and cents—but also hope and trust—and policymakers owing it to the people we represent to rigorously examine and continuously improve our government and its programs.

“We’ve made some progress on this front—especially in some of the recent bipartisan deals we’ve done on workforce investments, K-12 education, and substance use and addiction. But we still have a long way to go—and the federal government can do so much more.

“So I am so excited to be here today for the release of this report.  The Commission has put together some fantastic ideas for helping policymakers see the pieces of what is out there when it comes to evidence, information, and policies—and link them together. The recommendations they’ve pulled together—to both increase access to data and improve the security and confidentiality of that data—as well as expand the capacity to turn that data into evidence—would go a long way toward helping policymakers do better by the families and communities we serve.

“The Commission has done a great job mapping the infrastructure, processes, and laws already in place—the ecosystem—and proposing ways to strengthen, streamline, and facilitate what is already in place. And I am especially glad that this expert and diverse group of members—diverse in political views and in professional experience—delivered a report supported by all 15 members. Unanimous recommendations from a bipartisan commission—in Washington D.C. right now—is a very rare thing!  It is a testament to both their commitment to this mission – and to Katharine and Ron’s leadership. So—thank you again.

“But a report is only as good as the work that comes from it—so I am so glad to be here with Speaker Ryan today to make it clear that this isn’t the end of the story—it’s just the beginning. We are working on legislation—and hope to introduce it soon—to turn several of the nearly two dozen recommendations into law and lay down a foundation for even more work to come.  

“These initial recommendations, part of the “Foundations for Evidenced-Based Policymaking Act,” represent important down payments on the three main areas of recommendations: expanding access; modernizing privacy; and strengthening the capacity for evaluation.

“The down payment legislation will ensure we make immediate progress while we hear from our constituents and stakeholders—and while we work with the Commissioners and committees of jurisdiction on the remaining recommendations.   

“In addition, I am pleased the Bipartisan Policy Center, led by its President Jason Grumet—who is here with his team—has enlisted Katharine and Ron to lead a BPC initiative that will continue the work of the Commission.  It was important to me and the Speaker to have that capacity in place as the Commission ends its work this month, and I am happy Jason and BPC have stepped up to do so. 

“So thank you again for all of the work you’ve done.  And I can commit to you that I will continue working as hard as I can by your side—and doing everything I can to bring my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, along with me. We may not agree on much across party lines these days—but I am hoping that evidence-based policymaking can be a ray of light in the darkness.”