A bipartisan group of House members on May 24 introduced a resolution to establish a bipartisan Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking.

The Congressional Evidence-Based Policymaking Resolution – spearheaded by Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and co-sponsored by Reps. William Timmons R-S.C., Joe Morelle D-N.Y., and Dean Phillips, D-Minn. – aims to establish a group that will facilitate the integration of robust data in the legislative process.

The bill would establish a commission and convene experts to review, analyze, and make recommendations to Congress in an effort to better incorporate Federal data and evidence-based policymaking, the legislation reads.

“We’ve got to get government working better for the folks I represent,” Rep. Kilmer said in a statement. “Sound evidence and data are needed to better design policies, measure their impacts, and ultimately improve outcomes for the American people.”

“I am excited to see the impact that the Congressional Evidence-Based Policymaking Resolution can have to make government work better and to restore public trust,” he said.

The bill calls for the commission to be composed of 12 members, appointed no later than 45 days after the date of the adoption of the resolution.

The Speaker of the House, Minority leader of the House, Majority leader of the Senate, and Minority leader of the Senate would each be required to appoint three members to the commission: an academic researcher; a former congressional member or senior staffer; and an employee of an office appropriate for studying and developing evidence-based policy.

“Good policy is backed by good data. It’s past time we created better mechanisms to help policymakers make decisions using a common set of facts and data,” Rep. Phillips said. “Doing so will not only lead to better policy outcomes but will help restore trust in the policymaking process among an American public that has lost faith in its government.”

The proposed commission would consider suggestions pertaining to evidence-based policymaking, including:

  • Incorporating outcomes measurement, rigorous impact analysis, and implementation-aligned language into the lawmaking process;
  • Enhancing Congress’s ability to access and use real-time, structured, and machine-readable data;
  • Evaluating the need for a congressional Chief Data Officer, including their potential duties and placement;
  • Boosting data expertise in Congress through the inclusion of technologists, data scientists, and engineers; and
  • Encouraging Federal agencies to generate evidence on the effectiveness of major new programs.

“To tackle some of our nation’s largest problems, we must engage in evidence-based policymaking in a collaborative manner from a position of mutual respect,” Rep. Timmons said.

“To achieve this, we need the best available data for evidence-based policymaking,” he continued, adding, “I am proud to join my colleagues to reintroduce the Congressional Evidence-Based Policymaking Resolution to help us craft legislation using data and facts and ultimately solve some of the biggest challenges facing the American people.”

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.