A bipartisan group of House members has offered legislation to create the next version of the Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking.

The first iteration of the commission created in 2016 produced strong results that led to passage of legislation in 2019 that greatly boosted the profile of data-related work in the Federal government.

The latest push takes the form of a resolution offered by Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., and co-sponsored by Reps. William Timmons, R-S.C., Dean Phillips, D-Minn., and Dave Joyce, R-Ohio.  It would create the next iteration of the commission – a group of public, private, and academic experts who will “review, analyze, and make recommendations to Congress to promote the use of Federal data for evidence-building and evidence-based policymaking.”

The first edition of the commission sprang from the Evidence Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2016 signed into law by President Obama in March of that same year.

The 2016 act established the 15-member commission appointed by the president. Over 18 months, the commission made a comprehensive study of data inventory, data infrastructure, database security, and statistical protocols related to Federal policymaking and the agencies responsible for maintaining that data.

The commission issued a final report in September of 2017, offering findings and 22 recommendations for the Federal government to reach “a future in which rigorous evidence is created efficiently, as a routine part of government operations, and used to construct effective public policy.”

That was followed by Rep. Kilmer’s introduction in 2018 of the Foundations of Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 to address the commission’s recommendations.

The act was signed into law by President Trump in January of 2019, and required agencies to make accessible and machine-readable data, create a comprehensive inventory of agency data, submit the inventory to the Office of Management and Budget, create a list of policy-relevant questions that the agency plans to answer with data, as well as establish the chief data officer position into law, among other tasks.

Rep. Kilmer’s resolution on establishing the Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking has been referred to both the Committee on House Administration and the Committee on Oversight and Reform for consideration.

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Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan
Cate Burgan is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.