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H.R. 4174 (115th): Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2017

H.R. 4174 addresses several recommendations from the final report issued by the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking. Specifically, the bill

  • Requires federal agencies to create evidence-building plans for identifying and addressing policy questions relevant to the programs, policies, and regulations of the agency;
  • Establishes Chief Evaluation Officers to continually assess the coverage, quality, methods, consistency, effectiveness, independence, and balance of the portfolio of evaluations, policy research, and ongoing evaluation activities of the agency; and
  • Creates an advisory committee to study the Commission’s recommendation to create a National Secure Data Service.

The bill also incorporates the text of H.R. 1770, the OPEN Government Data Act, which requires open government data assets made available by federal agencies to be published as machine-readable data.

Last updated Nov 13, 2017. Source: Republican Policy Committee

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Oct 31, 2017.


Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2017

This bill requires departments and agencies identified in the Chief Financial Officers Act to submit annually to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress a plan for identifying and addressing policy questions relevant to the programs, policies, and regulations of such departments and agencies.The plan must include: (1) a list of policy-relevant questions for developing evidence to support policymaking, and (2) a list of data for facilitating the use of evidence in policymaking.

The OMB shall consolidate such plans into a unified evidence building plan.

The bill establishes an Interagency Council on Evaluation Policy to assist the OMB in supporting government-wide evaluation activities and policies. The bill defines "evaluation" to mean an assessment using systematic data collection and analysis of one or more programs, policies, and organizations intended to assess their effectiveness and efficiency.

Each department or agency shall designate a Chief Evaluation Officer to coordinate evidence-building activities and an official with statistical expertise to advise on statistical policy, techniques, and procedures.

The OMB shall establish an Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building to advise on expanding access to and use of federal data for evidence building.

Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary Government Data Act or the OPEN Government Data Act

This bill requires open government data assets to be published as machine-readable data.

Each agency shall: (1) develop and maintain a comprehensive data inventory for all data assets created by or collected by the agency, and (2) designate a Chief Data Officer who shall be responsible for lifecycle data management and other specified functions.

The bill establishes in the OMB a Chief Data Officer Council for establishing government-wide best practices for the use, protection, dissemination, and generation of data and for promoting data sharing agreements among agencies. Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act of 2017

This bill codifies provisions relating to confidential information protection and statistical efficiency.