Senate Committee Passes Evidence Commission Bill, Congress Proposes Defunding i3 and SIF (Social Innovation Research Center)

By Patrick Lester

By voice vote, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee today passed legislation (S. 991) that would create a bipartisan commission to recommend how Congress and the administration should expand the use of data to evaluate federal programs and tax expenditures.

“This bill will help give Congress more tools to make better policy decisions across the federal budget and tax code, and I am going to keep working until it gets signed into law,” said Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).

A House committee passed a similar bill last month. “The bill is working its way through the legislative process, and all signs look good,” said Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) at a Results for America event held today in Washington, D.C.

In other news, the Investing in Innovation (i3) and Social Innovation Fund programs have both been defunded in appropriations legislation moving in the Republican-controlled House and Senate.

“We are extremely disappointed,” said Michele McLaughlin, president of the Knowledge Alliance, a coalition of education organizations that has been working to support innovation in education.

“Driving and scaling up evidence-based programs and policies, as i3 does, should be embraced by both sides of the aisle. The proposed Ryan-Murray evidence commission has shown that we can come together and embrace evidence in a bipartisan fashion if the political will exists.”

The bills are unlikely to be signed into law by President Obama as written. They are a starting point for negotiations that are likely to continue into the fall.