Congress Passes Evidence-based Policymaking Commission Bill

The House today approved legislation (H.R. 1831) that would create an Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission charged with making recommendations to Congress and the administration on the use of evaluations and administrative data for assessing federal programs and tax expenditures.

The bill, an amended version of which was passed by the Senate on March 16, now goes to President Obama who is expected to sign it into law.

The bill (text) creates a 15-member commission that is charged with developing recommendations. Appointments to the commission must be made within 45 days of the bill’s enactment. The commission is directed to issue a report within 15 months.

“We won’t be able to expand opportunity in this country until we figure out which policies actually work. That’s why we need to make use of all the data we already collect, and that’s exactly what the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission would help us do,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan in a statement.

“I am proud that Speaker Ryan and I were once again able to break through the gridlock and work together to take this step toward improving federal programs and our tax code,” said Sen. Patty Murray in a statement after the bill passed in the Senate.

Among other responsibilities, the commission is directed to develop recommendations for creating a federal clearinghouse for program and survey data for researchers, officials, and institutions while simultaneously protecting individual privacy and confidentiality.

It is also directed to make recommendations on how best to incorporate outcomes measurement, randomized controlled trials, and rigorous impact analysis into federal program design.

Update: President Obama signed the legislation on March 30, 2016.


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