November 21, 2022

Kilmer Introduces Bipartisan Resolution to Encourage Evidence-Based Policymaking

Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer (WA-06) introduced H.Con.Res.116, a bipartisan resolution to establish a Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking. The Commission would convene experts to review, analyze, and make recommendations to Congress in an effort to better incorporate federal data and evidence-based policymaking throughout the legislative process.

The resolution, co-led by Reps. William Timmons (R-SC-04), David Joyce (R-OH), and Dean Phillips (D-MN), all members of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (Modernization Committee), aims to advance the Modernization’s Committee’s recommendation in 2021 to “establish a bipartisan, bicameral Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking to encourage and facilitate better use of data in the legislative process.”

“We’ve got to get government working better for the folks I represent,” said Rep. Kilmer. “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.”

“Laws should be based on facts, not opinions,” said Rep. Timmons. “To tackle our nation’s largest problems, Congress must engage in substantive policy discussions with the best available data for evidence-based policymaking. I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce the Congressional Evidence-Based Policymaking Resolution to help us craft legislation using the best available data and solve some of the biggest challenges facing the American people.” 

“We must create better mechanisms by which policymakers make decisions using a common set of facts and data. Doing so will not only lead to better outcomes but will also instill faith in the policymaking process among an American public that has lost faith in its government,” said Rep. Phillips. “Last year, the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress heard from experts about how we can improve the use of evidence to create good policy. This resolution implements some of the lessons we learned in that hearing to propel the federal government forward in implementing evidence-based policymaking.”

The Commission would study and consider approval of applicable recommendations with respect to evidence-based policymaking within the federal government, including:

  • How to incorporate outcomes measurement, rigorous impact analysis, and implementation-aligned language into the lawmaking process;
  • How Congress can access and incorporate real-time, structured, and machine-readable data into the lawmaking process;
  • The potential need for and duties of a congressional Chief Data Officer, including whether the officer should be located in a stand-alone office or housed within another existing agency and how such an office would function with existing data and transformation units in Congress;
  • Ways to increase data expertise in Congress through the incorporation of technologists, data scientists, and engineers to assist in policy evaluation and legislative drafting; and
  • How Congress may encourage Federal agencies to produce evidence on effectiveness for major new programs and reauthorizations, consistent with the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Public Law 21 115–435).

The Congressional Evidence-Based Policymaking Resolution has been endorsed by numerous organizations, include USAFacts, Lincoln Network, Data Foundation/Coalition, Demand Progress, Results for America, and the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The Congressional Evidence-Based Policymaking Resolution builds upon past work that resulted in the first-ever federal data strategy within the Executive Branch.  This includes the 2016 Evidence-Based Policy Commission and (H.R. 4174) the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, which Rep. Kilmer also co-led. This bill was signed into law in 2019, and requires federal agency data to be accessible to the public and that agencies develop statistical evidence to support their policymaking.

“The Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress has a track record of passing bipartisan recommendations to make the legislative branch and federal government work better,” said Dan Lips, Head of Policy at Lincoln Network. “This new resolution to establish a bipartisan, bicameral Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking would lay the groundwork for future reforms to improve government efficiency and effectiveness for American taxpayers. Establishing this commission should be a priority for Congress ahead of the 118th to identify potential cost savings and efficiencies to address the nation’s growing fiscal challenges.”

“We enthusiastically endorse the Establishing the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking resolution,” said Michele Jolin, CEO, and Co-Founder of Results for America. “Federal policy that incentivizes building and using evidence has the power to dramatically shift dollars to what works.  Results for America was an early and strong supporter of the U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking and the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 and supports this exciting new effort to build on that progress.”

“Evidence-based policymaking holds the potential to restore some of the lost public trust in America’s government institutions,” said Michael Thorning, Director of Structural Democracy at the Bipartisan Policy Center. “While there has been progress toward improving the use of evidence, particularly in the executive branch, Congress needs to bolster its own capacity and expertise to better incorporate evidence into the lawmaking process. The bipartisan Congressional Evidence-Based Policymaking Resolution, represents a significant step toward achieving that goal and builds on the exemplary bipartisan recommendations of the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress.”

“Congress has the difficult task of gathering information for the American people about every program in government, assessing performance and outcomes, weighing priorities, effectively allocating resources, and constantly looking for better ways to do its work while improving the institution,” said Nick Hart, President of the Data Foundation. “This resolution helps address all of these tasks by establishing a thoughtful process for asking how Congress can ensure evidence and data are accessible when needed for critical decisions in the years ahead. If successful in fulfilling its charge, the congressional Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking will also support efforts to build and increase public trust in democratic governance processes.”

“USAFacts applauds any efforts to bring data-driven decision making to the forefront, particularly one led by Congress,” said Poppy MacDonald, President of USAFacts. “We're encouraged by The Congressional Evidence-Based Policymaking Resolution and look forward to seeing legislators use government data when developing policy that impacts people’s lives.”