While Washington has been consumed by President Trump’s dealmaking with top Democrats on DACA and the debt ceiling, another major bipartisan breakthrough went largely overlooked.
With little fanfare, the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking — a group of social scientists, data experts and former government officials — just concluded 15 months of public hearings and careful deliberations by releasing its final report with nearly two dozen recommendations to improve how the federal government collects and uses data to make decisions. Every member of the commission, both Democratic and Republican appointees, signed the report.
By the standards of today’s Washington, the fact that the commission was created at all was a triumph. The bipartisan panel was established through legislation sponsored by House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), unanimously passed the House and Senate, and signed into law by President Obama in March 2016. Leaders from opposing parties put down their swords for a moment to embrace the shared belief that government can improve the lives of Americans by harnessing the power of data and evidence. As Murray put it, “Whether you think we need more government or less government, you should agree that we should at least have better government.”