Washington, D.C. – The recent bipartisan deal on FY 2021 appropriations for the Federal government and coronavirus relief includes numerous priorities that advance the country’s data ecosystem. The “Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021” includes the Data Coalition-endorsed AI in Government Act, modernization for public health data systems, and targeted resources for implementing the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. Data Coalition Chief Executive Officer Nick Hart, Ph.D. issued the following statement on the bipartisan agreement:
The Data Coalition applauds the efforts in Congress to prioritize our country’s data infrastructure in the omnibus appropriations. Inclusion of the bipartisan AI in Government Act builds on recent actions to ensure the United States plans for rapid advances in technologies and data analytics in coming years, and that our government will be positioned to lead the world in responsibly using AI.
The Data Coalition is also pleased to see a targeted proposal to modernize public health data systems, aligning with recommendations offered by the Data Coalition in early 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic highlighted the major need for updates to the current infrastructure. The modernization proposal provides a productive path for advancing public health data standards and improving secure data sharing that can enhance the quality of health statistics, improve medical practice, and encourage the application of evidence-based practice.
The Data Coalition appreciates Congress allocating some resources for federal agencies, including the General Services Administration to implement the OPEN Government Data Act and Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. Yet the resources allocated by appropriators and agencies pale in comparison to the tremendous needs for building capabilities for realistically and transparently using data for the public good. The Data Coalition encourages agencies in FY 2021 to prioritize resources and funding flexibilities to adequately resource evidence-building and data-management needs.