America Forward recently hosted its second Pay for Success and Evidence network call that brought together over 50 organizations and thought leaders interested in Pay for Success and Evidence-Based Policy. The purpose of the call was to provide an update on current federal legislative activity and to discuss prospects during this Congressional session for additional federal support.

Over the last six years, there has been a significant and increasing focus by Congress and the Administration on advancing Pay for Success and the use of evidence and outcomes when making policy and funding decisions. This Congress has been particularly active, with over 10 different bills, amendments, and appropriations Pay for Success and evidence-based requests introduced and being advanced through both chambers.

The most recent addition of the Pay for Success and Evidence Network discussion focused on five key areas of legislation and appropriations authorities in the current Congress that would authorize new Pay for Success activity, continue to scale current work, and provide overarching support for the move to an evidence-based approach to policy and funding decisions.

1. Education: Both the House of Representatives and Senate approved the inclusion of Pay for Success initiatives as an allowable use of state and local funds in various titles of their respective versions of reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). 

Current Status:

  • The Every Child Achieves Act (S.1177), as passed by the Senate, includes language that would make Pay for Success initiatives an allowable use of funds through:
    • Title I, Part D, which supports youth who are neglected, delinquent, or at-risk
    • Title IV, which funds programs addressing student health and safety
    • Early Learning, which supports coordinated systems of early learning and care services
  • The Student Success Act, (H.R. 5) as passed by the House, that would make Pay for Success initiatives an allowable use of state and local funds in Title II and in the Teacher and School Leader Flexible Grant, supporting improving student outcomes and saving resources by training and supporting educators.

2. Appropriations: The FY13, FY14, and FY15 appropriations bills authorized federal agencies to support Pay for Success projects, including the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. There are additional appropriations requests in the FY16 bills being negotiated in Congress that continue funding for current Pay for Success projects as well as explore other agencies and issues areas to support the use of Pay for Success.

Current Status: Both House and Senate Appropriations committees have voted out their respective bills with jurisdiction over the appropriations levels for various Pay for Success authorities. The bills in both chambers are stalled and there does not seem to be a path forward for the bills to be passed by either the full House or Senate. It is anticipated that there will be a Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded past the current fiscal year end of September 30th with a larger budget deal reached in the Fall/Winter prior to Congress adjourning for the holiday break.

3. Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act: Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) reintroduced their legislation that would create a commission to develop practices and processes for ensuring the use of outcomes and evidence when making federal policy and budget decisions.  Known as the Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act, the Commission would be tasked with identifying data access and inventory needs and making recommendations for how best to incorporate outcomes into federal program design.

Current Status:

  • House: The legislation has been successfully voted out of the full House.
  • Senate: The legislation was successfully voted out of committee and action is pending for approval by the full Senate.

    4. Social Impact Partnership Act: Introduced in both the House and Senate, this pending legislation (H.R. 1336/S. 1089) would direct federal resources to states and local communities to support innovative Pay for Success arrangements. The bills aim to tackle social and public health challenges while evaluating programs more closely in order to achieve desired outcomes for those in need and more effectively use taxpayer dollars.

    Current Status:

    • House: This legislation was introduced by Rep. Todd Young (R-IN) and Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) in March and referred to the Ways and Means and Financial Services committees. The legislation currently has 20 co-sponsors. In July, the language authorizing Social Impact Partnership demonstrations was included in the Ways and Means Human Resources subcommittee discussion draft on welfare reform/TANF reauthorization. Formal legislation is anticipated in September with a subcommittee hearing on the introduced bill in the Fall.
      Senate: This legislation was introduced by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Michael Bennet (D-C0) in April and referred to the Finance committee. Two co-sponsors recently signed onto the legislation, Senator Ayotte (R-NH) and Senator Booker (D-NJ).

      5. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Pay for Success Demonstration: There is bi-partisan, bi-cameral legislation that would authorize a Pay for Success multifamily energy and water conversation Pay for Success demonstration in affordable housing. The legislation would authorize HUD to test energy efficiency solutions in HUD-assisted, multi-family housing with the goal of reducing costs to the federal government.

      Current Status: The House has successfully voted out the legislation containing this authority. There are multiple venues for passage in the Senate but a Senate floor vote has not been scheduled to date.

      If you are interested in learning more about Pay for Success or America Forward’s Pay for Success advocacy efforts, please contact America Forward’s Government Affairs Director, Nicole Truhe at

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