Today, Representative Derek Kilmer introduced a resolution to establish a congressional Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. Representative Kilmer, who chairs the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress, with support from ranking member William Timmons and fellow Committee members David Joyce and Dean Phillips, is proposing the Commission to “review, analyze, and make commendations to Congress to in an effort to better incorporate federal data and evidence-based policymaking throughout the legislative process.”
The resolution proposes a congressional Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking modeled after the previous, successful bipartisan U.S. Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, which focused on data and evidence in the executive branch. This bipartisan resolution is just one of the many positive changes that the Select Committee has advanced since it was formed in January 2019. The Data Foundation’s President Nick Hart testified at a hearing last October, providing recommendations on how to strengthen the lawmaking process by using data and evidence.
Read the full testimony.
The executive-branch focused Commission studied the challenges in our country’s data infrastructure as well as potential research and evaluation capabilities, issuing a unanimous set of findings and recommendations for improving agencies’ operations in 2017. As a result of that Commission, Congress passed the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act), which created Chief Data Officers and the presumption of accessibility for federal data sets, among other innovative data provisions. It also paved the way for the National Secure Data Service, which was recently authorized in the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022.
The new effort will focus on building Congress’s ability to incorporate data and evidence into the legislative process, including exploring the Data Foundation’s recommendations to create a congressional Chief Data Officer, improve data expertise in Congress, and explore methods for supporting and implementing data-centered legislation such as the Evidence Act.
This resolution is an important step towards improving Congressional capacity to use data and evidence in the legislative process. Additionally, this thoughtful, deliberate approach to increasing evidence use can help establish greater trust between the American people and their government.
The Data Coalition Initiative looks forward to working with Congress on this important effort.
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