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Bipartisan Recommendations for Evidence-based Policymaking Advance Through Senate

Washington, D.C.? Just over one year after the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking issued its bipartisan report, the Senate unanimously advanced legislation that addresses 11 of the commission’s 22 recommendations in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018.

Evidence-based policymaking is an approach where decision-makers inform their actions using rigorously analyzed data for evaluating and improving government policies. Using rigorous evidence helps ensure that government programs achieve the goals the American public expects as effectively and efficiently as possible.

“By including these bipartisan provisions, Congress is clearly signaling its ongoing commitment to evidence-based policymaking,” said Nick Hart, director of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Evidence Project. “The legislation better equips agencies to develop the information needed for evidence-based policymaking and will help build a stronger culture of evidence in government.”

The legislation, championed by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), includes new requirements for federal agencies to establish senior leaders for program evaluation and data coordination to help agencies produce and use evidence, strengthens privacy protections for confidential data, and directs government to make secure access to data more available to generate evidence.

“Congress deserves credit for supporting evidence-based policymaking through these commonsense changes to make the federal government work better on behalf of the American public,” said Ted McCann, fellow at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “Policymakers need good information to enact sound public policy, and this legislation takes major steps to ensure that is possible.”

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