January 9, 2013Op-ed

Politico: Lesson For Congress: Invest In What Works

by Melody C. Barnes and John Bridgeland

Federal/ Economic/ 2013/

With last year’s campaign season behind us, it is time for Democrats and Republicans to join forces and govern. Just last week, the outgoing Congress passed, and the president signed, a bipartisan agreement to temporarily avert the worst effects of the fiscal cliff. This was the first of many issues in a queue of challenges that loom on the horizon for the new Congress, including controlling our national debt, job creation, immigration and education reform and putting in place a comprehensive strategy to help prevent tragedies like the one in Newtown, Conn.

The American people are losing hope that Washington can resolve national problems but have made it clear they want elected officials to get our fiscal house in order while investing wisely to strengthen our country. Because tough choices must be made, this is a moment to invest in programs that work, reform those that can work better, cut others and draw from smart compromises being negotiated by policymakers and leaders outside Washington. It can be done, and there are examples around the country that prove it.

As Congress works to solve our country’s fiscal issues, it also must make smart investments in programs that are generating real results. We must call for the use of measurable outcomes to evaluate the effectiveness of federal programs. As policymakers chart the course forward, they should replicate efforts around the country that are working across sectors and ideological lines to support innovative programs that generate positive outcomes and maximize impact.