Budget Blog

On Monday, the United Nations’ twentieth annual Conference of the Parties (COP) convened in Lima, Peru, where for two weeks, nations will continue working toward a global strategy to address climate change. The conference adds to a streak of recent news in the fight against climate change. During his trip to Asia last month, President Obama jointly announced with President Xi of China medium-term climate pollution reduction targets for both nations. The agreement was historic because for the first time ever, China agreed to binding targets to reduce its emissions of carbon pollution. Shortly after that, the United States pledged $3 billion to the United Nation’s Green Climate Fund (GCF), which is designed to support projects, programs, and policies in the world’s poorest countries to help them prepare for the impacts of a changing climate.

As Chairman Murray has noted, the consequences from a changing climate are already being seen throughout the U.S., and across many sectors of the economy. In July, Chairman Murray held a hearing on the economic and fiscal costs of inaction on climate change to illustrate that additional disaster relief spending and costly adaptation measures that will be needed to protect critical infrastructure and maintain our national security will likely add hundreds of billions of dollars to the national debt and crowd out investments in other critical priorities.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D., Wash.) and House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) recently announced the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2014, a bill to help strengthen our understanding of how government investments, from programs to tax incentives, can better serve all Americans.

The Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act would establish a 15-member commission, nine appointed by Democrats, to study how the government currently collects data on federal programs and spending through the tax code, and put forward recommendations for making this data more available and easier to use for research purposes.

Read more about the bill here and see below for selected coverage:

Bipartisan Policy Center – “At a time when Washington seems geared up for political posturing, Senator Murray and Congressman Ryan’s pragmatic leadership reminds us that Congress can still come together to tackle problems and offer fresh perspectives – in this case, a stronger evidence base for public spending and tax policies. Should this bill be enacted, we hope that the commission not only informs difficult policy decisions but also is a bellwether of a constructive dialogue for achieving meaningful reforms that simplify the tax code, drive efficiencies in federal spending, boost economic growth and put America on a stronger fiscal path.” LINK

Urban Institute - “Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) and House Budget Committee Chairman (soon to be Ways and Means Committee Chairman) Paul Ryan (R-WI) have offered a welcome respite from partisan rancor with their proposal for an evidence-based policymaking commission. The commission would make recommendations about how to expand the use of data to evaluate both spending and tax policies. More specifically, it would explore the idea of a federal clearinghouse of administrative and survey data to support policy research." LINK

Bipartisan Policy Center“The Bipartisan Policy Center commends Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) for their bipartisan introduction of legislation that would create a ‘Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking.’ This move precedes and could inform what is likely to be a multi-year effort on comprehensive tax reform. Once again, these lawmakers have come together to bust political stalemates.” LINK

The Hill – “Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) have teamed up again, this time on legislation seeking to give Congress a better understanding of federal tax and budget policy. The bill, from the heads of both the House and Senate Budget committees, would set up a 15-person commission to look into how the effectiveness of federal programs and tax breaks.”  LINK

Urban Institute - “Today more than ever, policymakers need evidence to help inform major decisions about program design, implementation, and funding. Whether assessing the likely effectiveness of a new initiative, comparing competing approaches to a vexing problem, figuring out where to cut, or refining a program’s rules to make it more cost effective, decisions based on rigorous evidence make better use of scarce public dollars and improve outcomes for people.” LINK

Bloomberg BNA – “House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) are pushing for a bipartisan commission to look at whether and how to consolidate data on the effectiveness of federal spending programs and tax breaks.”  LINK

Urban Institute – “This is music to my ears. At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. Public policies work best when they are rooted in facts, and solid research can spark solutions in programs and practice.” LINK  

Federal Times – “A new commission would examine how to use data to evaluate the effectiveness of federal programs, under bi-partisan legislation introduced by lawmakers Nov. 20. The Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2014 would establish a 15-member commission to determine whether the federal government should establish a clearinghouse for program and survey data and who should be able to access it.” LINK

Politico Pro – “The heads of the House and Senate Budget Committees introduced bipartisan legislation today aimed at giving Congress better information about how well tax expenditures and spending programs are working.” LINK

Bloomberg BNA – “Policy makers have long complained about the lack of easily accessible objective data on whether programs or tax breaks are having their intended effect. The panel's report would recommend the ‘optimal arrangement’ for consolidating data on programs and tax expenditures' effectiveness and how to make that data available for researchers as well as how to incorporate measures of effectiveness into programs' design.” LINK

The Hill – "’The families and communities we represent deserve a government that works for them and delivers results,’ Murray said in a statement.”  LINK

Politico Pro - “Murray said the bill will ‘take an important step towards strengthening our understanding of how government investments, from programs to spending in our tax code, can better serve all Americans. ’” LINK

 Bipartisan Policy Center - Bipartisan Champions Murray and Ryan Propose New Commission on Evidence-based Policymaking 11/24/14

Urban Institute - A bipartisan call for better evidence to inform policy 12/1/14

Federal Times - Bill would create data commission to boost agency effectiveness 11/21/14

Bloomberg BNA -Ryan, Murray Team Up on Panel to Look at Tax Breaks 11/20/14

The Hill - Murray, Ryan team up on new budget legislation 11/20/14

Politico Pro - Ryan, Murray introduce bill to improve evaluations of tax, spending plans. 11/20/14

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan have announced the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2014, a new bill that is a step toward strengthening our understanding of how government investments can better serve all Americans. This bipartisan bill would establish a 15-member commission to study how best to expand the use of data to evaluate the effectiveness of federal programs and tax expenditures. The commission would also study how best to protect the privacy rights of people who interact with federal agencies and ensure confidentiality.

To continue highlighting the need to make sure women have a level playing field in today’s economy, Chairman Murray recently hosted roundtables with women leaders in the Tri-Cities and Spokane, Washington about the challenges they face in the workforce and ways to expand economic opportunity for women and their families. Senator Murray hosted a roundtable at the YWCA of Spokane last week, and at the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau this week. At each event, Murray made the case for policies that would help working women get a fair shot, like strengthening pay equity, raising the federal minimum wage, expanding access to high-quality, affordable child care, making college more affordable through student loan refinancing, and enacting family-friendly workplace policies.

“When it comes to issues like pay inequity, the high cost of child care, or inflexible workplace policies, the key point is that in the 21st century economy, these aren’t just women’s issues. These issues affect the whole family—moms and dads—and they are holding our country as a whole back from reaching its economic potential,” said Senator Murray at Tri-Cities. “I’m proud to be fighting for policies that would help Washington state women and families gain the economic security they are working so hard to achieve.”

These remarks were part of Murray’s continued effort to fight for policies that would expand opportunity for women and their families.

Yesterday, Senator Murray spoke at a symposium hosted by the Women in Business Leadership Initiative (WIBLI), an organization the Seattle Chamber of Commerce launched after a roundtable with Senator Murray in order to support Washington state women leaders and help close the gender wage gap. In her speech, Murray emphasized the importance of women’s economic opportunity to the broader economy, the difference women can make by running for office and leading on these issues in their communities, and the momentum across the country to make progress for women in today’s workforce.
To ensure that the United States can continue to lead in the 21st century, we need to make sure our workers are prepared to compete for high-skill, high-wage jobs in growing industries. But today, our economy has a growing shortage of workers with the training and experience many of these jobs require. In fact, by 2018 the United States will face a shortage of workers with recognized postsecondary credentials – as many as 3,000,000 workers with degrees and 4,700,000 workers with certificates, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

To close this gap, we need to invest in helping workers get the skills and training they need. That is why Chairman Murray, along with Representative George Miller (D-CA), and Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI), recently introduced the Promoting Apprenticeships for Credentials and Employment Act (PACE Act), a new bill that would support the expansion of registered apprenticeship programs.