Making an Impact
BPC is a nimble organization focused on complex issues requiring urgent solutions. In 2014, BPC concentrated on eight areas:
In each program area, BPC combines technical expertise with political insights to develop and advocate ideas that influence active policy debates. From efforts to strengthen the nation’s housing finance system to health care solutions that increase the quality of care at reduced cost to analysis of the dire consequences of a federal debt default, BPC projects were influential in framing policy debates.
However, policy doesn’t happen in isolation. Solving problems is a collaborative effort. Part of BPC’s work in 2014 focused on joining the expertise from multiple program arenas. Through these efforts, BPC produced policy analysis on the economic impacts of different approaches to immigration reform, the importance of cybersecurity to protect the electric grid, and the sequester’s impact on defense spending.
BPC also increased efforts to engage in debates beyond Congress. For example, BPC partnered with Midwest states to analyze proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulations for the electric power sector, and BPC recommended ways to improve implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act which governs the financial sector.
BPC’s affiliate organization, the Bipartisan Policy Center Advocacy Network (BPCAN), provides timely political input into the policy development process and identifies key opportunities to advance recommendations with Congress and the administration. The work of BPCAN is multifaceted and involves facilitating basic educational activities to increase members’ and their staff’s understanding of issues, convening senior staff on a regular basis to build bonds and improve appreciation for their respective views, and providing feedback to offices looking for technical input on legislative proposals as well as strategic advice to those seeking to collaborate with colleagues on the other side of the aisle. BPC, through the efforts of BPCAN, has become a trusted go-to source for analysis and insight for the Hill.
BPCAN’s Legislative Impact:
- BPC, through its Governors’ Council, helped shape the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act to increase state flexibility and encourage innovation. The act was signed into law in July 2014.
- BPC’s housing recommendations were incorporated into the Senate Banking Committee’s bipartisan government-sponsored enterprise reform bill that passed out of committee.
- BPC’s health care cost containment recommendations were reflected in several pieces of new legislation, including the Tri-Committee health care bill, which seeks to resolve the chronic problem of funding physicians under the Medicare sustainable growth rate.
- BPC’s regulatory framework for health information technology served as a base for legislation introduced in several bipartisan House and Senate bills. The end-of-year FY2015 Omnibus Appropriations package also reflected BPC’s call for an aggressive push for interoperability of health IT systems to improve information transfer, efficiency, and patient care.
- Reflecting a key recommendation by BPC’s Commission on Political Reform, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) committed to restore regular order in their respective chambers with a greater committee role in the development of legislation and a more open amendment process on the floor.
- The Insurance Capital Standards Clarification Act was enacted into law. The bill was championed by BPC’s Financial Regulatory Reform Initiative to clarify that the Federal Reserve has the authority to tailor bank capital rules for insurance companies under the Dodd-Frank Act.
- The American Savings Promotion Act was passed into law. The bill was championed by BPC’s Commission on Retirement Security and Personal Savings as an innovative way to increase Americans’ personal savings.
- BPC recommendations for health IT were incorporated by the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT in the draft health IT plan developed under the FDA Safety and Innovation Act.
- After BPC recommended that the FDIC release greater detail about its proposed single-point-of-entry process for systemically important financial institutions, the agency formally solicited comments on how it might do so.
- The U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Stability Oversight Council instituted a transparency policy one month after BPC recommended it.
Building a Foundation:
- BPC’s Governors’ Council supported the newly formed Senate Governors’ Caucus, comprising the 11 senators who were formerly governors.
- BPC’s Senate Legislative Directors dinner series has brought together more than 40 bipartisan senior congressional staffers to build relationships, become better educated on the issues, and develop a deeper understanding of institutional history.