Session Summary: Making Informed Policy Decisions
Paige Pierce is a master's student at George Washington University.
Moderator: Ron Haskins, Brookings Institution and APPAM President-elect
Becky Shipp, Senate Finance Committee
This session was moderated by Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution and is the APPAM President-elect. Originally this session was supposed to be a panel made up of two Senate Committee Staffers: Bryce McKibben from the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and Becky Shipp from the Senate Finance Committee. Unfortunately, Bryce was not able to attend due to other commitments.
Ms. Shipp works on the Senate Finance Committee under U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). During the presentation Ms. Shipp focused on what role she saw research playing in her job on a regular basis. In general, she defined her role as knowing and identifying what the best policy option is, but at the same time knowing what policy is actually politically and economically feasible to implement.
Ms. Shipp focused on the work she does on issues such as the home visitation program, child welfare waivers, and foster care programs. She highlighted the fact that issues like child welfare programs are more bipartisan than programs such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) which she described as being similiar to engaging in "guerilla warfare."
At the end of the day, Ms. Shipp believes that the best way for researchers and policy makers to improve their relationships is for researchers to understand how the legislative process for people, such as herself, works. She went on to describe that at times, she has all of 2 minutes to explain a policy idea or decision to the Senator, so at times she will need a quick high level explanation rather than an overly detailed and lengthy report to gather the information needed to do her job.