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You are here News Congress Evidence comes under attack: How Congress is quietly killing one of the best ideas in government.

Evidence comes under attack: How Congress is quietly killing one of the best ideas in government.

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Evidence under attack“Every man has a right to his own opinion,” investor Bernard Baruch said in 1950, “but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.”

Politicians are, of course, sometimes wrong on the facts, but the federal government is actually making significant progress to bring hard evidence into the policymaking process. It might sound obvious, but it’s actually one of the most promising ideas in governance: “evidence-based policymaking,” the use of credible research to drive public policy, and independent evaluation to decide which government programs work, and which don’t.

It’s also a rare case where the White House and the Republican Congress have found common ground, at least rhetorically. The House has already passed a bipartisan bill from Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) to establish a commission charged with finding ways to use evidence and evaluation to improve public policy. Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) called the Ryan-Murray bill an example of “the type of common sense reforms that defy partisan rankling.” President Barack Obama included the Ryan-Murray proposal in his most recent budget, and the bill awaits consideration on the Senate floor.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration has been implementing evidence-based initiatives of its own. Its push for more data-driven policymaking has drawn positive attention from Republicans such as Ron Haskins, a former staffer for the House Ways and Means Committee and the George W. Bush White House, whose recent book is titled “Show Me the Evidence: Obama’s Fight for Rigor and Results in Social Policy.”

TVNL Comment: This is a MUST READ.

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