$206 Million for the Census Bureau up in smoke
Update: According to Rep. Patrick McHenry’s office, Rep. Pete Olson withdrew his amendment after he and McHenry discussed how important it was to fully fund the 2010 Census. This is what prompted the following letter from McHenry’s office:
Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act – Oppose Cuts to Census Funding
With operational costs increasing as we near Decennial Census Day – April 1, 2010 – the Census Bureau budget has become an easy target for offsets in the appropriations process. Several amendments have been filed that will strip even more crucial funding from the Bureau that is used for community outreach, advertising, non-response follow-up and data analysis. This could translate into fewer responses to the initial paper survey and a greater, more laborious effort in door-to-door follow-up visits by census workers.
Census data guides the allocation of $300 billion in federal funds to state and local governments, and representative districts from Congress to school boards are based on census results. It is absolutely vital that the census is fully funded to get a complete and accurate count of every person residing in America.
Help ensure that the 2010 Census is the most accurate decennial to-date by opposing any reductions to funding from the Census Bureau in the FY2010 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
MyTwoCensus would like to give a hat tip to TheCensusProject.org for reporting the following information:
CENSUS NEWS BRIEF
June 16, 2009 No. 65
BREAKING NEWS: 2010 Census Funding at Risk on House Floor
Funding for the Census Bureau next year could be slashed significantly as the U.S. House of Representatives begins debating the Fiscal Year 2010 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill (H.R. 2847) today.
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) is expected to offer an amendment that would shift $566.5 million from the Census Bureau to NASA’s exploration account, more than eight percent of the $6.671 billion the Appropriations Committee allocated for 2010 census operations in the fiscal year that begins on October 1, 2009.
Numerous additional amendments that would siphon off funds from the Census Bureau — always a target for lawmakers seeking to boost funding for law enforcement, science, and other popular programs in the massive spending bill — are expected over the next two days.
According to analyses by the Brookings Institution, almost $400 billion in federal program funds annually — $4 trillion over the decade — is allocated to states and localities based in whole or in part on census data. The analyses, broken down by program and by state, are available on The Census Project web site at www.thecensusproject.org (under Fact Sheets).
The Census Bureau’s FY2010 budget also took an unexpected hit in the Appropriations Committee last week, when a misunderstanding between panel members and the Commerce Department (the Census Bureau’s parent department) led appropriators to reduce the agency’s funding by $206 million. Lawmakers had thought the amount, appearing in the President’s detailed budget request as a carry-over from 2009, represented extra money, when in fact the Census Bureau had committed the funds to a paid media buy.
The Administration told Congress yesterday that if the $206 million is not restored before Congress finalizes the Commerce spending measure, the Census Bureau would reduce a planned $573 million contingency fund for the 2010 census by that amount. The contingency fund, the Administration said, would cover unanticipated conditions, such as a lower-than-projected mail response rate or more vacant units that increase the non-response follow-up workload, or unforeseen events, such as a natural disaster or health pandemic. The emergency fund, Census officials told Congress, “is not a very large reserve for a once-a-decade program of this size and complexity, which must be completed by statutory deadlines.”
Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent legislative and policy consultant specializing in the census and federal statistics. All views expressed in the News Briefs are solely those of the author. Please direct questions about the information in this News Brief to Ms. Lowenthal at TerriAnn2K@aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this document to other interested individuals and organizations. Ms. Lowenthal is a consultant to the nonpartisan Census Project, organized by the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC. Previous Census News Briefs are posted at www.thecensusproject.org.