U.S. Evidence-Based Policymaking Act Signed Into Law

The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (H.R. 4174) was passed by both chambers of the U.S. Congress in late 2018, and was signed into law by the president on Jan. 14, 2019. This legislation introduces measures related to how the government collects, publishes, and uses public data with the end goal of making evidence-based data more available for use in policymaking. The Act included key recommendations from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking that will strengthen privacy protections, improve secure access to data, and enhance the government’s evidence-building capacity.

Federal agencies are now required to develop evidence-building plans for consultation by the public, appoint a chief evaluation officer and chief data officer, and establish a uniform application process for outside researchers to access federal data. A summary of the Act created by the Bipartisan Policy Center is available online.

COSSA (The Consortium of Social Science Associations), of which NCFR is a member, supported the bill in a letter to lawmakers, writing that the legislation will “help make our government more effective and efficient by building evidence about the practices, policies and programs that will achieve the most effective and efficient results so that policymakers can make better decisions.”

You can read more of COSSA’s coverage of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act on their website.