Home / Government / Articles / USAFacts backs House's evidence-based policy commission

A bipartisan group of House members, led by Representative Derek Kilmer, recently introduced a resolution to establish a Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking. USAFacts supports this resolution and hopes it will provide the scaffolding necessary to enable Congress to integrate data more deeply and efficiently into the policy-making process.

The new commission would explore ways to create a more rigorous, evidence-driven policy-making process. Recommendations the commission would consider include changes USAFacts has supported in the past, including systems to quantitatively assess outcomes of legislation, incorporation of government data into the legislative process, and increasing the data literacy of congressional staff.

Rep. Kilmer previously chaired the House Select Committee on Modernization, known as the “Fix Congress” committee, created in 2019 to improve the workings of the House of Representatives. The committee was quite successful during its tenure, making roughly 200 recommendations, many of which have been adopted or are moving in that direction.

The Select Committee disbanded in early 2023 but was recreated as the Subcommittee on Modernization of the Committee on House Administration. The Subcommittee recently turned its attention to modernizing the Congressional Research Service and USAFacts gave testimony at a hearing in April 2023.

What would it take to modernize Congress for data-based policy?

Modernizing a 234-year-old legislative body is not easy. From upgrading databases and building APIs (or “application programming interfaces”) to support data sharing on websites or apps, to providing data alongside bill text and other process changes, to teaching staff new skills, a great deal of work goes into modernization efforts. USAFacts hopes this current resolution will establish the Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking and looks forward to supporting further modernization efforts.

Poppy MacDonald, president of USAFacts, said of the proposed resolution, “USAFacts applauds any efforts to bring data-driven decision-making to the forefront, particularly one led by Congress. We’re encouraged by The Congressional Evidence-Based Policymaking Resolution and look forward to seeing legislators use government data when developing policy that impacts people’s lives.”

Read about USAFacts' work with the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy to create the Data Skills for Congress program. Get updates on our efforts to improve government data by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.