A Bipartisan Proposal for Evidence-Based Policymaking


Just when you thought bipartisanship was a thing of the past, here comes a proposal so sensible, so much in everyone's interest, and mirabile dictu, it comes from key Republican and Democratic leaders.

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash), outgoing Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, and Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Chairman of the House Budget Committee, jointly proposed a call for an evidence-based policy commission to be established to propose strategies to help policymakers make informed decisions. The commission would prepare a report on how the federal government could use data more effectively to evaluate outcomes of federal programs and to improve those outcomes.

Among other things, the commission would provide guidance on a "clearinghouse" for program and survey data, and figure out how to get maximum information from existing and new data while maintaining individuals' privacy rights.

This proposal is hugely important in its own right, but it is also a hopeful sign for the future in two ways. First, it suggests that evidence-based government is not going away, but is likely to grow, whichever party is in control. Second, it demonstrates that on issues not on the front page, Republicans and Democrats committed to good government and wise uses of tax dollars can still work together. And that's good news!