On Friday morning, January 29, 2016, U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) visited the Public Policy 5 class of Professor Ron Shaiko at the Nelson A. Rockefeller Center. Senator Ayotte spoke to the class of approximately 100 students about how she is working with her colleagues in the Senate to adopt more evidence-based processes of selecting and evaluating new and ongoing government programs.
Senator Ayotte presented several examples in which the federal government programs that are either duplicative or are not based on any measureable metrics to judge the success or failure of such programs. She pointed out that an Afghanistan Economic Development Task Force was provided with an $800 million budget by Congress to create sustainable economic growth opportunities for the Afghan people. In the end, the limited programming that did result from the programming neither served to produce sustained economic growth nor to engage the Afghan people in such programs.
Her solution was offered in part in a new book that is being read by PBPL 5 student this term—Moneyball for Government—edited by former Congressman and former OMB Director under President George W. Bush, Jim Nussle and former OMB director under President Obama, Peter Orszag. In this book, Senator Ayotte joined Senator Mark Warner, (D-VA) in writing a chapter about their views on performance/evidence-based policymaking. Senator Ayotte described the bi-partisan support that she has received from this initiative in the Senate. Following her presentation, Senator Ayotte responded to a variety of questions posed by PBPL 5 students. At the end of class, Senator Ayotte chatted with students while moving on to lunch at the Collis Center with members of the College Republicans.