Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2016

magnify-dollarH.R.1831 has passed Congress. The bill, expected to be signed by President Obama, is an attempt to bring a more scientific process to the evaluation of future programs.

“Directs the Commission to conduct a comprehensive study of the data inventory, data infrastructure, and statistical protocols related to federal policymaking and the agencies responsible for maintaining that data to:

  • determine the optimal arrangement for which administrative data on federal programs and tax expenditures, , survey data, and related statistical data series may be integrated and made available to facilitate program evaluation, continuous improvement, policy-relevant research, and cost-benefit analyses;
  • make recommendations on how data infrastructure and statistical protocols should be modified to best fulfill those objectives; and
  • make recommendations on how best to incorporate outcomes measurement, institutionalize randomized controlled trials, and rigorous impact analysis into program design.”

The bill also “requires the Commission to consider whether a clearinghouse for program and survey data should be established and how to create such clearinghouse.”

Several agencies would be initially directed to include these processes and resultant knowledge into their decision making:

  • the Bureau of the Census;
  • the Internal Revenue Service;
  • the Social Security Administration;
  • the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and Justice;
  • the Office of Management and Budget;
  • the Bureau of Economic Analysis; and
  • the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although the processes themselves are open to political shenanigans, this seems like a step in the right direction toward more reality-based and secular governance.

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Jay is Editor In Chief of The Agonist, veteran and technologist.

5 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I suspect that when it comes to implementation, the usual obstructions will still be in place. Science says we are destroying the world in pursuit of profits. Those who profit have always funded anti-science and won”t let their political flunkies change that.

      • Essentially what they are trying to do – by statute – is make the policy development and implementation process Canadian (to the point of leaning towards replicating your own version of Statistics Canada). While I applaud the notion, I’m afraid I have to agree with Ray. I’ve worked in this framework for a while now and it is simply not something neatly created by fiat. What we have – and have fought with less success than I would like to preserve – is the product of a multi-generational endeavour that needed some very particular conditions to develop and thrive. I’m not optimistic that that can be replicated in your current environment. Unless this Commission can steamroll your pols (and the vocally stupid among your electorate) I don’t see how it is going to succeed. That said, I would be absolutely delighted to be wrong on this.

  • I wonder how the Climate Change deniers and anti-womnens’ health will game this:

    step in the right direction toward more reality-based and secular governance.

    As well as change earmarke?

    And the damage done by the US’ Muscular Foreign policy back up by the Dept of Defenc’s budget?

    Or the inability of the F35 to stay in the air?

    Or the War of on black people Drugs?

    To question just a few of the programs which are not science and evidence based.

    IMHO the intersection sets of evidence based and republican or DLC Democrats is null.

    Such as Hilary won AZ, which she cannot win in the General Election and lost Washington which the democrats could win in the General, yet some people still believe Hillary electable in the Geneeral Election against Trump.

    Oh well, faith is faith in the face of science, and dogma is dogma and stubborn, yet some of us still believe in thesis, expirement, numbers and proof.

    AS opposed to arm-waving, banning, hysteria and poof.

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