WASHINGTON – House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today applauded Senate passage of H.R. 1831, the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act, anti-poverty legislation that he and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced last year:

“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. This bill is a big step in the fight against poverty, and I want to commend Senator Murray for getting it one step closer to the finish line.”

Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act

  • The bill establishes a Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. The Commission is charged with reviewing the inventory, infrastructure, and protocols related to data from federal programs and tax expenditures while developing recommendations for increasing the availability and use of this data in support of rigorous program evaluation.
  • In the course of its review, the commission is specifically required to evaluate the merits of and provide guidance for creating a clearinghouse for program and survey data. The clearinghouse would make available and facilitate the merging of datasets that are valuable in evaluating program effectiveness and informing domestic policymaking.
  • The commission’s findings and recommendations are due to Congress 15 months after the commission reaches eight members. The commission ends 18 months after the date of enactment.
  • The bill requires several agencies to provide assistance to the commission including OMB, Census, and the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, and Justice.
  • The commission is comprised of 15 members representing an array of disciplines relevant to program evaluation and data management, including economics, statistics, and data security. The majority and minority leaders in the Senate, and speaker and minority leader in the House are authorized to appoint three members each, as is the president.
  • The commission would also study how best to protect the privacy rights of people who interact with federal agencies and ensure confidentiality.
  • The commission is authorized to hire a director (appointed by the commission chair with the concurrence of the co-chair) and staff. The bill authorizes several federal agencies to provide up to a total of $3 million in funds to carry out the activities of the commission.
  • First passed in the House on July 27, 2015, H.R. 1831 now returns to the House for final approval before going to the president’s desk.