Policy

Ryan, Murray team up on evidence-based policy bill

Shutterstock image (by Ismagilov): restructuring business processes. 

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) have rolled out legislation to help measure government efficiency based on their commission's findings.

Following up on the findings of the 15-person Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking established by their 2016 law, Ryan and Murray introduced the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act in their respective chambers.

Original co-sponsors of the bills include Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.) and Blake Farenthold (R-Texas).

"Patty and I have long advocated for a way to better measure the federal government's effectiveness, and this bill puts those efforts into action," said Ryan in a statement. "As lawmakers, we have to change our approach not only to how we make policy, but how we gauge its results."

Murray said the bill begins to implement the commission's recommendations "by improving how the federal government gathers and uses data and evidence to inform decision-making, as well as ways to strengthen the privacy and increase the transparency around this information."

Although the bill does not include the recommendation for the creation of a federal service for data collection, Robert Shea, a principal of Grant Thornton's public sector practice who served on the commission, called the bill a "magnificent step in the evolution of evidence-based policy making."

"It's not all the recommendations of the Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking, but I'm not greedy," he said." And the fact it's got the imprimatur of Speaker Ryan and Sen. Murray is significant -- evidence building and use [are] bipartisan!"

The bill first requires agencies to submit plans for evidence-building, which will be consolidated into a governmentwide plan by the Office of Management and Budget. It also mandates agencies appoint a chief evaluation officer to manage their evidence-based activities and establish an advisory committee on data for evidence-building.

Under the bill agencies must appoint a chief data officer who will establish a data inventory and emphasizes maximizing the availability of data, with consideration to privacy and national security concerns. Agencies are also tasked with expand data access while bolstering privacy standards.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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