The nonprofit Bipartisan Policy Center, which inherited the tasks of the expired congressionally appointed Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, is expressing optimism that the Trump administration is taking the approach seriously.
Congress is moving forward on legislation implementing 10 of the commission’s 22 recommendations laid out last fall, and agencies are conducting “extensive discussions,” the group’s staff said in blogposts and a conference call with reporters on Thursday.
“There is genuine interest” at agencies such as the departments of Veterans Affairs, State, Health and Human Services, Education and Labor, said Nick Hart, formerly the commission’s research director who is now in charge of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Evidence-Based Policymaking Initiative. That group includes the commission’s former members. Agencies and “coordinating bodies” such as the Office of Management and Budget and the Council of Economic Advisers are “beginning to take steps to prioritize” actions, he said.
Hart called the bill the House passed in November, and for which senators are seeking a vehicle this year, “a really good start.” The bill—which addresses such concerns as privacy risks and the need to streamline data sharing—does not include the key recommendation of creating a National Secure Data Center. Hart said the bill will not solve all problems or fully steer the agencies, but will “establish the mechanisms.” It shows that Congress is “having that conversation,” Hart added.