Congress Appoints Key National Indicators Commission

By State of the USA
December 16, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The first ever bipartisan Commission on Key National Indicators is now complete, following appointments by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader John Boenher.

The eight members of the bipartisan Commission on Key National Indicators have been selected by congressional leaders in the House and the Senate to oversee implementation of a Key National Indicator System to help the American people better assess the nation's progress. The KNIS -- enabled by an innovative public/private partnership -- will select a limited number of key measures on the most important issues facing the country and make them freely available via the web using the best quality public and private data sources.

The system will be implemented by the National Academy of Sciences in partnership with a non-profit institute, the State of the USA. A total of $70 million in public financial support is authorized for KNIS over nine years to complement contributions by the private sector, which are nearing $15 million to date.

Two commission appointments each were made by the speaker and the minority leader of the House of Representatives and the majority and minority leaders of the Senate, Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell. The appointees are:

  • Nicholas N. Eberstadt, Ph.D. Eberstadt is Henry Wendt Scholar in Political Economy at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and a senior adviser to the National Board of Asian Research. (McConnell)
  • Stephen Heintz. Heintz is currently President of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund as well as Chair of the Board of Trustees of Demos, a non-partisan public policy research organization to promote an engaged and inclusive democratic process. (Pelosi)
  • Wade F. Horn, Ph.D. Horn is a director with Deloitte Consulting and former assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (McConnell)
  • Ikram U. Khan, M.D. Khan is president and founder of Quality Care Consultants LLC, a Las Vegas based health care consulting firm, and a board member of U.S. Institute of Peace, a presidential appointment. (Reid)
  • Dean Ornish, M.D. Ornish is founder and president of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, Calif., and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco. (Reid)
  • Marcus C. Peacock. Peacock runs the Subsidyscope initiative at the Pew Charitable Trusts, which makes detailed information on federal subsidies available to the public. (Boehner) (resigned due to conflict of interest upon taking the position of minority staff director on the Senate Budget Committee)
  • Tomas J. Philipson, Ph.D. Philipson is The Daniel Levin Professor of Public Policy at The University of Chicago. Philipson is also affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research, the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute, the Heartland Institute, the Milken Institute, and the RAND Corporation.(Boehner)
  • Marta Tienda, Ph.D. Tienda is currently a Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University.  Additionally, Tienda serves as a director of TIAA, and board member of the Sloan Foundation, the Jacobs Foundation of Switzerland, and the Corporation of Brown University. (Pelosi) 

The commission will now elect co-chairs, work with Congressional leadership on appropriations and begin discussions with the National Academy of Sciences on the contract to implement the KNIS. Specific responsibilities of the commission include: conducting oversight and issuing annual reports; managing the contract with NAS for system implementation; facilitating support of the system, including federal funding and access to federal data sources; and making recommendations to NAS on system improvements as well as issues and measures to be considered.

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