Today, Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-LA) announced that the subcommittee will hold a hearing titled, “Expanding Opportunity by Funding What Works: Using Evidence to Help Low-Income Individuals and Families Get Ahead.” This hearing is the second in a series focused on ways to help move America’s families forward. The hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, in room B-318 of the Rayburn House Office Building.
In view of the limited time available, oral testimony at this hearing will be from invited witnesses only. Witnesses will include experts on the evaluation of programs designed to help low-income families and individuals. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the committee for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.
Each year, the federal government spends hundreds of billions of dollars on more than 80 programs designed to assist children and families with limited resources. While each program was created with a goal of making a real difference in the lives of those in need, few programs have been proven to produce better outcomes for the low-income families and individuals they serve. In many cases, these programs have never been evaluated to determine if they are working as intended. Leaders from both political parties have highlighted this problem, with two former White House officials recently noting that, “based on our rough calculations, less than $1 out of every $100 of government spending is backed by even the most basic evidence that the money is being spent wisely.”
Policymakers, program administrators, and researchers across the political spectrum share an interest in understanding the impact of government programs, as well as making sure taxpayer dollars are spent on programs that help people get ahead. Leaders from both parties have put forward proposals to increase the use of evidence in determining whether federal social programs are working, including recent legislation introduced by Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan and Senator Patty Murray (the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2014) and Representatives Todd Young and John Delaney (the Social Impact Partnership Act), as well as ideas put forward by the Obama administration in the President’s budget.
In announcing the hearing, Chairman Boustany stated:
“Americans deserve a government that works. For too many years, Congress has created program upon program, spending hundreds of billions of dollars annually on efforts designed to alleviate poverty without ever knowing whether it’s working or not. It’s time to change that. This hearing will spotlight what we know about the use of evidence today, how that is changing, and how we can and should do even more to hold government programs accountable for achieving real results. It’s time we expand existing efforts to fund what works, and this hearing will show us how we can do just that.
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
This hearing will focus on the effectiveness of federal social programs, efforts to rigorously evaluate government programs to determine their impact, and proposals to increase the use of evidence across government so federal spending is directed toward programs that work.
DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:
Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, https://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Please click here to submit a statement or letter for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. Attach your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by March 31, 2015. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.
The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
- All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
- Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
- All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons, and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.
The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.
Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available online at https://waysandmeans.house.gov/.