Washington, D.C.– There has long been bipartisan agreement that effective national policies must be anchored in rigorous fact-based analysis. However, this commitment to evidence is easier to extol than employ. Years of partisanship and growing red tape have created roadblocks to accessing the data needed to develop evidence for making sound decisions and reviewing the effectiveness of government programs.
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), and the co-chairs of the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking today announced consensus bipartisan recommendations designed to overcome these barriers. The commission was created in 2016 in legislation sponsored by Speaker Ryan and Senator Murray following their successful negotiation of a 2-year budget agreement.
After a year of intensive public hearings, testimony, and research, the commission today released its final report. It includes detailed recommendations on how to improve access to government data while simultaneously improving the security of Americans’ sensitive information. This report represents great progress, but the work is not yet done.
The Bipartisan Policy Center, in recognition of the importance of the commission’s work, is launching an initiative to continue and expand on the commission’s efforts to ensure federally funded programs are based on the best evidence available.
“This is a great opportunity for BPC to build on the important work of this commission. There is a tradition of congressional and executive branch commissions performing exceptional work that fades from view once reports are published. We simply cannot allow this to happen to the underpinnings of deliberative democracy,” BPC President Jason Grumet said. “BPC is eager to work with the commission co-chairs and leaders in Congress, the administration, and the expert community to help implement key recommendations and build a culture of evidence in federal and state policymaking.”
Katharine Abraham and Ron Haskins, the commission chair and co-chair, have agreed to lead BPC’s new Evidence-Based Policymaking Initiative. Nick Hart, the commission’s policy and research director, will join BPC as the initiative director.
“The commission’s recommendations create an important and bipartisan foundation for substantive fact-based debate,” G. William Hoagland, senior vice president at BPC, said. “BPC is eager to seize this unique moment to translate key commission recommendations into federal policy.”
BPC also intends to explore related topics including building institutional capacity for the use of evidence in policymaking, improving federal and state interactions, and strengthening collaboration between policymakers and researchers.