Virtual Policymaking Simulations

Virtual Policymaking Simulations

Online public consultation puts citizens in their elected officials’ shoes by simulating the process they go through in making policy decisions – getting briefed, hearing arguments, coming to decisions – using an online instrument called a “policymaking simulation.”  VOP has worked with the Program for Public Consultation to develop simulations on the following issues, give one a try!

Ground-Level Ozone

In this survey, we’d like your opinions about some current issues regarding Ground-Level Ozone. Ozone is a key factor that creates smog and is harmful to humans. States are currently required to undertake a step-by-step plan for lowering their maximum allowed ozone levels. Get briefed on the pro and con arguments regarding the proposal in Congress to delay this requirement for eight years, and make your final recommendation. At the end of the simulation, please consider sharing your recommendations with your members of Congress.

Net Neutrality – II

The FCC recently voted to reverse a set of existing regulations known as ‘net neutrality.’ Learn the arguments for and against net neutrality and determine whether you favor or oppose the FCC’s plan reverse the existing regulations. You can go through the policymaking simulation on Net Neutrality, in which you will:

  • get briefed on the key elements of this proposed bill
  • evaluate arguments for and against each element
  • make your decision about how your Members of Congress should vote on the bill

Here at Voice of the People, we think that Members of Congress should hear from the people, not just the lobbyists and special interests. At the end of this simulation, please take the opportunity to make your voice heard.

Independents and Third Party Candidates

As a Federal District Court considers a claim that the Commission on Presidential Debates should eliminate requirements that plaintiffs say effectively excludes a third, unaffiliated candidate from participating in the presidential debates, this simulation measures public support for making it more possible for a third candidate to participate in the presidential debates and efforts to make it more possible for independent and third party candidates to compete in Congressional elections.

Redistricting By Citizens, Rank-Choice Voting, Multi-Member Districts

Congress is considering a number of bold reforms to change how members of Congress are elected, including redrawing congressional districts by independent citizen commissions, ranked choice voting and multi-member districts. These three reforms comprise new legislation – The Fair Representation Act – sponsored by Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA.) and cosponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN.), Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). In this survey, respondents evaluate pro and con arguments about each of the reforms, and at the end of the survey, have the opportunity to make recommendations to their member(s) of Congress.

Immigration Reform

In this survey, respondents to evaluate a number of options for changing the US system for legal immigration. The US system for legal immigration provides selected non-US citizens with the right to reside in the United States on a permanent basis by providing them with what is commonly known as a “green card.” This also gives them the right to work and the obligation to pay taxes. As you will see, some people argue that the number of legal immigrants to the US should be reduced, others say the number should be increased. There are also proposals for changing the way that immigrants are selected. In each case, you will be presented information about the proposal, offered arguments in favor of and against the proposal, which you will evaluate how convincing or unconvincing you find them, and then you will be asked to evaluate the proposal.

Alexander-Murray Changes to ACA

This survey presents the three key provisions of the Alexander Murray bill, that addresses issues with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and asks respondents to evaluate arguments for and against each provision.  These include reversing the Trump administration cuts for outreach and education for the ACA exchanges,  a provision for health-care cost subsidies for low-income people, and a provision for allowing Americans over the age of 30 to obtain lower end ‘copper’ healthcare plans (which is now less relevant since the individual mandate was repealed in the recent tax reform legislation).

Net Neutrality – I

An issue for consideration calls for changing the regulations for Internet Service Providers. The proposal is to reverse a set of existing regulations known as ‘net neutrality.’ Learn the arguments for and against net neutrality and determine whether you favor or oppose the proposal to reverse the existing  regulations.

Lobbying Restrictions and Former Presidents

This simulation focuses on legislation to extend the waiting period prohibiting for former Members of Congress from lobbying Congress after leaving office.  Another set of questions presented a proposal to end the financial support for former US Presidents, as called for in H.R. 2298 sponsored by Rep. Sensenbrenner [R-WI-5].  Currently, former US Presidents get financial support to cover the ongoing costs associated with the activities of being a former president, including office space, staffing and travel.

Addressing the Medicare Shortfall

In the course of doing this simulation, you will learn many interesting things about Medicare so your recommendations about how to address the Medicare shortfall will be well informed. This simulation will take about 25 minutes to complete. Everything you will see has been reviewed by experts and Congressional staffers, both Democrats and Republicans, so you can be assured that it is factual and balanced. Afterwards, you’ll be given the opportunity to share what you’ve learned with your Congressional representatives, if you choose to.

Federal Poverty Programs

Go through our policymaking simulation on federal Poverty programs to learn about the issues, hear pro and con arguments, and then decide which reforms you want Congress to adopt. If you wish, you can share what you learn with your representatives in Congress.

Social Security Reform

Go through our policymaking simulation on Social Security Reform to learn about the issue, hear pro and con arguments, and then decide which reforms you want Congress to adopt. If you wish, you can share what you learn with your representatives in Congress.

Energy and Environment

One of the challenges we face today is that the way we produce energy has some negative impacts on the environment. In this survey, we would like to introduce some proposals for changing the way energy is produced and used to reduce air pollution and reduce production of greenhouse gases. We will give you some background on these issues, introduce you to both sides of the debate on these proposals, and then give you a chance to make your recommendations. At the end of the survey, you will have an opportunity to forward your recommendations to your members of Congress.

The Defense Budget

The Program for Public Consultation developed a policymaking simulation that provides a briefing on the defense budget from diverse perspectives, along with arguments for and against cutting spending levels by category. Working online, you can go through this exercise and specify your preferred level in each area, and make your own defense budget.

The Federal Budget

How would you reshape the U.S. Federal Budget? Try this policymaking simulation and learn about the tough decisions on revenues and spending that are facing Congress as they determine the FY2017 Budget.

Postal Service Reform

It may not sound glamorous, but postal reform has serious fiscal implications for the federal government, and is an issue that has Democrats and Republicans in Congress at loggerheads.  See if you can fix the problem in our simulation.

The Iran Deal: Continue or Withdraw?

This brief simulation provides information on the main terms of the deal that was negotiated between Iran, the U.S. and other world powers over Iran’s nuclear program, as well as arguments for and against withdrawing and arguments for and against continuing with the deal. Should the U.S. withdraw or continue with the deal?

The Iran Nuclear Deal

As the deal with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program was being debated on Capitol Hill, this Citizen Cabinet survey asked the American public to weigh in on what they thought Congress should do. Get a short briefing on the deal, learn about the options that Congress was considering, and hear the arguments — pro and con.