WASHINGTON—House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) today pledged to take next steps in a bipartisan effort to improve the way the federal government uses data to solve problems and improve people’s lives. He spoke alongside Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) at an event marking the release of a new report by the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. Ryan and Murray co-authored the legislation that established the commission. In its report, the panel lays out a series of recommendations for improving confidential data access, modernizing privacy protections, and strengthening federal evidence-building capacity.
Speaker Ryan has touted evidence-based policymaking as part of a better approach to fighting poverty that focuses on outcomes, and emphasizes programs with a track record of success. Visit Speaker.gov for a full breakdown of the report’s key findings.
Following are Speaker Ryan’s remarks at this afternoon’s event:
“First, I want to thank all the members of the commission. This is a phenomenal piece of work. We asked them to do a lot of work in a fairly short period of time, and they did an outstanding job.
“I am thrilled today to be here as part of releasing this report. This is impressive and important work. This report will help fulfill the desire that the American people have for an efficient and effective Federal government. This report sets forth a vision in which rigorous evidence is used to inform and shape public policy at all levels, from Congress to our executive agencies.
“And, we can gain greater use of existing data while strengthening privacy and legal protections for citizens, and providing them with the greater transparency on how the data the Federal government collects is actually used.
“Now, I admit, you don’t often see the two of us standing up here together. It’s about every two or three years that we do something. I think it’s high time we just agree where we agree, and go and agree. That’s something we’re trying to do a bit more of these days.
“Why did we think this was important? Why did we set aside our partisan differences that so often prevail around here?
“It is because, if you were born poor 50 years ago, you are just as likely to stay poor as you were then. We have made some progress – but not nearly enough. It is because taxpayers deserve to know that their money is being spent wisely. And it is because we need to make sure that we actually results and not just effort.
“The Commission has provided us with a set of specific recommendations that will help us develop the tools to know what is working and what is not working. It sounds so simple, but it is just not what we’ve been doing for a long time.
“So we now have the expertise, the idea for legal protections, and the technology. I am very proud to work with you, Patty. I am very proud to work with the commission, and all the work that you’ve done.
“So I am proud to say that I will continue to work with Senator Murray on this. We will now be working with our colleagues in the House and Senate on legislation to do this—to improve access to data, improve privacy, and help expand our capacity to improve programs.
“That is what this is all about: it’s about changing our approach so we can actually change the status quo, and improve people’s lives.”