Former Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan spoke at a moderated discussion hosted by the Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy about evidence-based policymaking in a Friday lecture at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The Wisconsin Republican, who was speaker from 2015 to 2018 and will serve as a guest lecturer at Notre Dame for the 2019-2020 academic year, argued that a more robust means of collecting data could improve the efficiency and efficacy of Federal programs.“In lay terms, it means what it sounds like. We now, in this day and age of data and analytics, have the capability of actually studying programs — whether government or non-government programs — to measure their effectiveness,” Ryan said. “Evidence-based policy basically means looking at the evidence of whether or not you are achieving an intended goal, or not. Track that evidence, and then change the conduct of your program … in order to, based on evidence, facts, data and figures, achieve your goal.”Anna Mason | The Observer Ryan said his interest in this subject was piqued in the aftermath of the 2012 presidential election, in which he served as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s vice-presidential running mate. He said his travels across America—coupled with his previous work for former Congressman Jack Kemp — left him with a sense that the Republican Party needed “fresh” ideas about fighting poverty. He said data about Federal anti-poverty programs was difficult to come by and decided to change that reality in a bipartisan manner.“I went to a buddy of mine — I wanted to make this bipartisan — a [Democratic] senator from Washington state, Patty Murray,” he said. “She and I had just done a big budget deal the year before…and I asked her to do this commission with me, because this should be bipartisan.“This has nothing to do with right or left, liberal or conservative, but just with what works, what’s data, what’s evidence, how to actually prove outcomes and things like that. We proceeded to put together this wonderful commission. We took the results from the commission … and put it into a bill. We passed that bill into law in December.”Discussing why statistical data about Federal programs was so hard to access, Ryan said bureaucracy and the status quo were the primary obstacles in making the data available to policymakers.“It’s a classic ‘twentieth century bureaucracy wasn’t ready for the twenty first century,’” Ryan said. “Science and data analytics have moved so far, and government is way behind the times. In 2013, I conducted a study in the Budget Committee. I wanted to understand all the Federal government does in the area of fighting poverty.“I thought it was a pretty simple question to ask. No one knew the answer to this question. … It took us a year, an entire committee. We found out that there were about 92 Federal programs that qualify as poverty fighting programs, spending a little over $800 billion a year. About 1% of them — 1% — we measured whether they were effective or not. That gave me the impetus to say, ‘We have got to get the federal government up to speed here.’”Furthermore, Ryan said since the launch of the federal government’s so-called “war on poverty” 50 years ago, few people had been interested in measuring the programs in terms of their success of lifting people out of poverty.“Our onus, our mantra was — and Patty would agree with me on this — rather than measuring success in the war on poverty … based on effort, or input — how many programs do we have, how much money are we spending on them, how many people are on the programs — how about we do this novel thing and measure success in the War on Poverty based on outcomes? On results? Are we actually getting people out of poverty? Is it working?” Ryan said. “Because what had happened over this fifty-year period is the poverty rates basically stayed the same.”Regarding examples of evidence-based policymaking’s success, Ryan cited a prenatal motherhood support program aimed at helping expectant and new mothers living in poverty care for their children by sending nurses into these women’s homes and teaching them how to care for children.“It’s a program we call MICV — Mother and Infant Children Visitation program — and George Bush created this as president as a pilot project,” Ryan said. “Barack Obama put in permanent law in the Affordable Care Act. Under my speakership, we made it permanent and reauthorized it, and Donald Trump signed it into law.“Here is a Bush-created program that Obama took from a pilot and made it an authorized program and then Trump expanded it. Why is that? … We used great data to figure out that it was extremely effective. The data told a story, the effectiveness told a story, and it was bipartisan.”Using data to determine a program’s effectiveness can take some of the partisan rancor out of debates regarding a program’s utility, Ryan said.“You can get rid of ideological fights, you can get rid of partisan fights, you can get rid of funding fights when you have unassailable evidence to be able to make the case and achieve a social good,” Ryan said. “Those few pockets of success stories is what we were able to point to and say ‘Why don’t we do this with the rest of the Federal government?’”At the conclusion of the moderated discussion, Ryan took questions from students. The questions covered a range of topics, including health care and the United States’ polarized political culture.Senior Sheila Gregory, co-president of College Democrats, challenged Ryan over his role in attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Gregory said Ryan had not lived up to his own self-set standards when it came to the use of evidence in policymaking.“In 2009, you said that, ‘I don’t think we should pass bills that we haven’t read and that we don’t know what they cost,’” Gregory said. “Yet the American Health Care Act of 2017, which passed the House while you were speaker, was called to a vote before the Congressional Budget Office could analyze its costs and effects. Furthermore, many representatives from your party admitted to not having read the full bill. Why did you change your mind when it came to the passage of your own health care legislation, and when is it ever appropriate to pass major legislation without a CBO score?”Ryan responded that his handling of the bill was consistent with the standards he had laid out.“I didn’t change my mind, did read the bill, did know the bill, helped write the bill and had continuous scores from the CBO all along. We had been scoring the same policy as CBO for months,” he said. “Their final score came out the same way as their preliminary score, based on their last preliminary score. We knew where we were with CBO all along.We would call CBO and they would tell us, ‘We just can’t give you an official letter yet, but here’s what it is.’ So we knew what the cost effects were, and we knew exactly what was in the bill.”At the close of Ryan’s answer, Gregory criticized the effects of the bill that Ryan had just referenced.“And the effects were 23 million people who would be uninsured, thank you so much,” Gregory said as she left the microphone.In response, Ryan asked Gregory if she was a member of the College Democrats.“Head of the College Democrats, right?” Ryan asked Gregory as she walked away. “This ain’t my first rodeo.”Brigid Harrington, a sophomore, asked the former speaker about the best approach of reaching the country’s political center.“In an age of heightened partisanship, what are some of the challenges you have faced as speaker in being responsive to the ideological center of the nation?” Harrington asked.Ryan said that whereas in the past success in national politics was dependent on policymaking prowess, success is now largely measured through entertainment value.“You can leapfrog this meritocracy immediately, become famous fast and then you’ll a brand to maintain,” he said. “What this has done is it has given rise to what I call the ‘entertainment wings’ of our parties. The Democrats have an entertainment wing of their party, the Republicans have an entertainment wing of our party. You can scale the heights of the entertainment wing of the party without really paying your dues, proving your worth and being a good policymaker.“Because being a good policymaker ultimately means getting consensus. Getting consensus ultimately means compromise. If you’re going to compromise … you won’t be pure, you won’t be perfect, you won’t have a good brand that you’ll be able to maintain. What this has done is ripped us into poles. It has made primary politics really where the action is. …To your question, you have to convince members of Congress this is the right thing to do, even if it’s bad for [their] election.”Tags: American Politics, Evidence-based policymaking, Paul Ryan, Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy
Governor Peter Shumlin said today he’s pleased that the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) is designating the Northeast Corridor (NEC) as a ‘high speed rail corridor,’ a definition that allows NEC states to compete for federal rail funds.As Chair of the Transportation Committee for the Coalition of New England Governors (CONEG), Shumlin has been working with his counterparts across the region to advance the vision for a regional high speed rail network. ‘This is an important step for advancing the New England rail network. It will finally enable the Northeast Corridor to compete for federal rail dollars,’ Gov. Shumlin said. ‘Enhancing passenger rail investments throughout our region will benefit Vermont’s vision of a robust and vibrant passenger rail network connecting Vermont with New York, Boston, and Montreal.’ The Governor said rail investments throughout the region will continue to reduce travel times along the Amtrak route, increase mobility for Vermonters and improve energy efficiency across our region. ‘I am pleased to be working in concert with other New England Governors to make this vision a reality,’ he said.As part of the Northern New England network, Vermont is already eligible for such designated funds. However, the NEC is a linchpin in the broader regional rail network. With this decision, projects along the Northeast Corridor will now be able to compete on a’ level planning field’ for any current and future federal funds intended to improve and advance high speed rail corridors and service. Without this designation the NEC, including the congested Boston-to-Washington Corridor, would be ineligible to pursue these federal funds.The CONEG Governors recently wrote to USDOT Secretary Ray LaHood urging that all the northeast states be considered in the reallocation of any high speed-intercity passenger rail grant funds that might become available. Home to more than 20 percent of the nation’s population, the northeast states have worked cooperatively to advance projects needed to improve the current rail system, and develop joint plans and projects that contribute to the goal of high quality, expanded passenger rail service and significantly increased ridership.MONTPELIER — 3.15.2011
Statehouse— State Rep. Cindy Ziemke (R-Batesville) recently honored Honda Manufacturing of Indiana with a resolution at the Indiana Statehouse for producing its 2 millionth vehicle in Greensburg and its contributions to the community.According to Ziemke, Honda produced more than 2 million vehicles since production began in October of 2008, with workers building the milestone car, a crystal black pearl CR-V, on May 31, 2019. “I remember in 2006 when it was announced that Honda was coming to Greensburg,” Ziemke said. “It was the biggest news. They were a big deal then and they are a bigger deal now as they continue to be one of the largest contributors and assets to our local economy. Gov. Mitch Daniels said bringing Honda to Indiana was one of his most significant achievements, and my district and I are grateful they were able to come to Greensburg.”Ziemke stated that Honda’s contribution to the community continues, as the company has announced a $4 million expansion that will add 54 jobs to the plant’s operations and expand the Honda-Greensburg portfolio to include the production of the CR-V Hybrid, which began being assembled this month.“The products we make in Indiana are among Honda’s most popular and most successful,” said Tim Myers, senior vice president of HMIN. “And we’re leading the way in electrification, which is the future of automotive manufacturing.”Honda Manufacturing of Indiana employs more than 2,500 Hoosiers, represents more than $1 billion in capital investment and has the capacity to produce 250,000 vehicles a year.
WITH over 30 registered participants so far, the Rotary Club of Demerara’s Inaugural Off-Road Rally is set to take place next weekend on the Linden/Soesdyke highway.According to the president, Hansraj Singh, there are over 30 confirmed participants (offroad vehicles and bikes) that will traverse four terrains over the space of the October 5 event, which will begin at 08:00hts and conclude at 15:00hrs.Singh disclosed at the event’s launch on Friday in Georgetown that committee members brought up the idea as part of a venture to raise funds. “There is a lot of interest right now in Guyana with all these people having Off-Road vehicles, bikes and ATVs and not having a coordinated activity to participate in other than visiting those hinterland communities and (participating in) the safari,” he added, explaining the birth of the idea. The event will encompass trails in the Kuru Kururu, Marudi and the Soesdyke/Linden Highway areas.Beharry Automotive Limited has entered two fully off-road vehicles for the event.Rotarian Lancelot Khan outlined the four routes, saying “They will take you towards the South Dakota Circuit, Linden Town then aback of Dora, slightly close to the Pakuri trail that leads to the Pakuri Village. Each one of these routes is accessible just off the Soesdyke/ Linden Highway.”Khan explained that the winners would be judged on how quickly they traverse the routes, adding that of the four trails, they have devised four ranges of tests with a section ranging from those that can see car competition, to those that are only traversable with fully off-road vehicles.The team reminded that strict adherence will be paid to speed limits for those trails that encompass road passages.The other Rotarian at the head table during the launch, Bhageshwar Murli, contended that there will be a full medical team at the start line should any mishaps occur.He stated that there are also live monitoring of all competitors and of course roving response vehicles that will rescue any teams that may have issues during the rally.Murli reminded that, “The event is one where we want you to bring out your family and have a great day.” Persons desirous of registering can do so via the Rotary Club of Demerara or the Guyana Motor Racing and Sports Club’s office.