CENSUS NEWS BRIEF
HOUSE CUTS $20 MILLION FROM CENSUS BUREAU BUDGET;
2006 CENSUS FIELD TEST COULD BE SCALED BACK
The House of Representatives approved an amendment yesterday to cut $20 million from the
Census Bureau's fiscal year 2006 budget, with $10 million coming from the Salaries and
Expense account, which funds ongoing demographic and economic surveys, and $10 million
from 2010 census planning.
Preliminary information from the Census Bureau indicates that the 2006 Census Field Test,
currently planned for Travis County, Texas, and the Cheyenne Indian Reservation in South
Dakota, could be scaled back to one site if the funding is not restored. Alternatives
include canceling plans to test a dual English-Spanish language questionnaire and a
targeted second mailing to households that don't return the first census form. The
Census Bureau is unlikely to deploy new procedures in 2010 that are not tested in
The amendment to cut the bureau's funds was offered by Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA). It
was approved by a vote of 260 - 168. The money was shifted to the Community Oriented
Policing Services (COPS) program and the Drug Enforcement Administration, both within the
Justice Department. Rep. Baird said increased funds were needed for local law enforcement
and international interdiction to fight the growing use of methamphetamines. He
questioned the Census Bureau's need for so much money, saying the agency had already
received several billion dollars since 2001. "Ask your average man and woman on the
street * where should we spend the money? Billions of dollars for the census, or to
intercept international narcotrafficking *?" the congressman asked during the debate.
Rep. Baird also accused the Census Bureau of wasting money, saying they had handed out
paperweights, calendars, and other trinkets during the 2000 census. "I used to teach
research design," Rep. Baird said. "I cannot fathom that it costs this much
money to modify this census."
Lawmakers speaking in opposition to the amendment were sympathetic to the need for more
drug-fighting money, but they suggested that the Census Bureau also needed funds to
prepare thoroughly for the next census. Rep. Michael Turner (R-OH), chairman of the
Subcommittee on Federalism and the Census, which oversees census programs, said, "It
sounds pretty simple, paperweights versus crimefighting. * But it is just not that simple.
The census provides information vital to how we as a Nation operate." Rep. Carolyn
Maloney (D-NY), a former ranking member of the census oversight subcommittee, concurred,
noting that federal and state funds for education, housing assistance, day care,
hospitals, and programs for the elderly are distributed based on census data.
The House is considering the Fiscal Year 2006 Science, State, Justice, Commerce, and
Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 2862). (Debate is continuing today.)
Subcommittee Chairman Frank Wolf (R-VA) and Ranking Minority Member Alan Mollohan (D-WV)
opposed the amendment, saying that the committee had done its best to balance competing
priorities in the massive spending bill and that the Census Bureau needed the funds
approved by the committee. (For further information on the committee bill, see the June
12th Census News Brief.)
Rep. Baird was the only lawmaker to speak in support of his amendment. The vote on the
Baird amendment can be found at http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll248.xml
. A similar
amendment to last year's appropriations bill, which also would have shifted funds to
the COPS program, was narrowly defeated by a vote of 206 - 212.
The Census Bureau's Salaries & Expenses account is now reduced to $198.029
million; the Administration requested $220.029 million. Funding for 2010 census planning
is reduced to $453.596 million, with $10 million specifically coming from
"Reengineered Design Process for the Short-Form Only Census."
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science is scheduled to
consider its version of the fiscal year spending bill next week. Last year, the Senate
failed to approve any increase in funds for the Periodic Censuses account, which includes
the decennial census and American Community Survey. Most of the requested funds were
restored in negotiations with the House, although the Census Bureau was unable to include
group quarters in the first year of the ACS survey.
Proposed Constitutional amendment would exclude non-citizens from census: Rep. Candice
Miller (R-MI) introduced a bill to amend the Constitution, to require that only U.S.
citizens be counted for purposes of apportioning seats in the U.S. House of
Representatives. H.J.Res. 53 would change the word "persons" in the Fourteenth
Amendment to "citizens." (The relevant section of the Fourteenth Amendment
currently reads: "Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States
according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State,
excluding Indians not taxed.") There are currently four cosponsors on the bill,
which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
"I find it absolutely outrageous that people who are not in our country legally are
having such impact on our political system," Rep. Miller said in a press release.
Previous proposals to amend the law, most notably before the 1990 census, have sought to
exclude undocumented residents, but not non-citizen legal residents, from the state
population totals used for congressional apportionment. Constitutional amendments must
pass both the House and Senate by two-thirds votes, and then be ratified by three-fourths
of the states within seven years.
Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent consultant in
Washington, DC, with support from The Annie E. Casey Foundation and other organizations.
Ms. Lowenthal is also a consultant to The Census Project, sponsored by the Communications
Consortium Media Center. 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 202/484-3067 or by e-mail at TerriAnn2K(a)aol.com. Please feel free to circulate this
document to other interested individuals and organizations.