White House Finds Common Ground With House Republicans on Evidence Agenda

A team of White House representatives met with staff of the House Budget Committee in late August to discuss possible areas of agreement on evidence and evaluation, according to a report from Government Executive.

The meeting came after the White House noticed overlaps between Chairman Paul Ryan’s anti-poverty plan, released in July, and the Obama administration’s Evidence and Innovation Agenda, described in a memo released last year.

According to the report:

On Aug. 26, with little fanfare, an OMB team joined academics and nonprofit specialists in a meeting with the House Budget staffers organized by Robert Shea, a principal with Grant Thornton and George W. Bush-era OMB veteran who now chairs the board of the National Academy for Public Administration.

The discussions, Shea told Government Executive, centered on how to tap the “treasure trove” of agency data that the law permits to reduce the cost of program evaluations without violating privacy protections.

“The combination of President Obama’s evidence agenda and the apparent acknowledg[ment] of its importance by Chairman Ryan show that this is clearly an area where we can find common ground no matter what happens in the next election.”

According to the report, Kathy Stack, head of OMB’s Evidence and Innovation team, said at a separate October 8 event that there is “interest on Capitol Hill in funding agency data analytics offices, particularly among the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations panels.”


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