CONGRESS SET TO FINISH 2009 FUNDING BILL; CENSUS FULLY FUNDED FOR
Plus: President Reportedly Will Name New Commerce Secretary; and more.
Congressional appropriators are set to consider this week an omnibus
funding bill (H.R. 1105) to pay for most non-defense federal programs
for the remainder of FY2009, which ends September 30, 2009. The $410
billion measure allocates the full budget request of $3.14 billion for
the Census Bureau, well more than double the 2008 appropriation of $1.26
billion. The bill is expected to go directly to the House floor,
without a committee vote, and then on to the Senate.
The Bush Administration originally requested $2.635 billion for the
Census Bureau this year, but amended its request last spring after
problems with the large contract for GPS-equipped handheld computers
forced the bureau to revise the way it will collect information from
households that do not mail back a census form next year. The 2010
census “replan” issued in 2008 could increase the lifecycle cost of the
decennial count by up to $3 billion.
The FY2009 appropriations measure includes $2.906 billion for Periodic
Censuses and Programs, the overall account that covers the decennial
census and American Community Survey. The bill carries forward previous
legislative language prohibiting the Census Bureau from eliminating the
“Some Other Race” option on the census race question and from
instituting a sweepstakes to encourage census participation. The bill
also encourages spending on “promotion, outreach, and marketing
activities.” “Periodics” funding also covers the quinquennial (every
five years) economic and government censuses.
The joint explanatory statement accompanying the bill notes that
Congress is providing full funding for the decennial census “to return
the 2010 Census to a more reliable, paper-based operation, with the
expectation that the new Administration will focus the requisite
oversight to ensure a successful Decennial.” The report says that a
“lack of critical oversight” and “lack of attention” in the previous
Administration “significantly increased the risk of failure” for the census.
The committee report highlights the importance of paid media in
promoting the census, especially in minority communities and communities
with limited English proficiency. Appropriators directed the Census
Bureau to reevaluate its communications program in light of the revised
plan for nonresponse follow-up and to submit a comprehensive
communications plan for 2010 to Congress. They also expressed support
for “robust partnership and outreach efforts … with specific focus on
Other issues highlighted in the committee’s statement are language
assistance programs for both the decennial census and American Community
Survey (ACS); the importance of reliable census and ACS data for
numerically small populations, such as Asian, Hispanic, and Pacific
Islander subgroups; and Census in the Schools program, for which the
committee directed the Census Bureau to spend at least $10 million on
competitive grants and adult education materials in support of the 2010
The Census Bureau has already launched final preparations for the 2010
census. Key operations in FY2009 include:
•opening and staffing 150 “early” local census offices;
•canvassing all neighborhoods and rural areas to verify addresses (on
the Master Address File) and geographic locations (in the TIGER system);
•finalizing data capture, data processing, and telecommunications systems;
•printing hundreds of millions of census questionnaires and other forms;
•developing a national advertising campaign;
•hiring additional national and regional staff to oversee field
•implementing a nationwide Partnership Program to engage government
officials, civic leaders, community organizations, businesses, and other
“gatekeepers” in support of the census.
Economic and demographic statistics: The 2009 spending bill includes
$233.6 million for Salaries and Expenses, the account covering ongoing
collection of demographic and economic statistics. House committee
report language allocates $45.7 million of that amount -- $486,000 more
than the previous Administration requested -- for the Survey of Income
and Program Participation (SIPP), to maintain a sample size of 45,000
households and improve the survey over the next several years.
The appropriations bill provides $90.6 million for the Commerce
Department’s Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA), which houses
the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in addition to the Census Bureau.
The allocation is $500,000 more than the budget request. BEA produces
key economic statistics, including Gross Domestic Product, that support
U.S. monetary and fiscal policies, trade negotiations, business
planning, and personal savings and investment decisions.
Congressional appropriations process: In the coming days and months,
the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations will approve final
funding levels for FY2009, and hold hearings and “mark-ups” to consider
the Administration’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for federal
departments and agencies. The President will send his FY2010 budget to
Congress on Thursday.
The Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and
Related Agencies have jurisdiction over the Census Bureau and BEA.
House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice,
Science, and Related Agencies
H-309 The Capitol 1016 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515 Washington, DC 20515
Alan Mollohan (WV) Frank Wolf (VA)
(Chairman) (Ranking Minority Member)
Patrick Kennedy (RI) John Abney Culberson (TX)
Chaka Fattah (PA) Robert B. Aderholt (AL)
Adam Schiff (CA) Jo Bonner (AL)
Mike Honda (CA) Jerry Lewis (CA) (ex officio)
C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (MD) Peter J. Visclosky, (IN)
José E. Serrano, New York David Obey (WI)(ex offico)
Senate Committee on Appropriations
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
SD-144 Dirksen S.O.B. SH-123 Hart S.O.B.
Washington, DC 20510 Washington, DC 20510
Barbara Mikulski (MD) Richard Shelby (AL)
(Chairman) (Ranking Minority Member)
Patrick Leahy (VT) Judd Gregg (NH)
Herb Kohl (WI) Mitch McConnell (KY)
Tom Harkin (IA) Kay Bailey Hutchison (TX)
Byron Dorgan (ND) Sam Brownback (KS)
Dianne Feinstein (CA) Lamar Alexander (TN)
Jack Reed (RI) Thad Cochran (MS) (ex officio)
Frank Lautenberg (NJ) Daniel Inouye (HI)(ex officio)
New Commerce Secretary reportedly chosen: President Obama is prepared
to nominate former Washington State Governor Gary Locke (D) to be
Secretary of Commerce, a position that will give the nation’s first
Chinese American governor a significant role in overseeing the 2010
census, according to Administration sources quoted in several major
Governor Locke, now a Seattle-based lawyer, is the President’s third
nominee for the top Commerce post after two previous nominees, New
Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg,
withdrew from consideration.
Mr. Locke served two terms as governor of Washington; he also served as
a deputy prosecutor in King County (which includes the City of Seattle),
member of the Washington House of Representatives, and King County chief
Washington State was involved in a census lawsuit following the 1990
count. With encouragement from Congress, the Census Bureau included
members of the armed forces and federal civilian personnel stationed
abroad in the state population totals used to apportion seats in the
U.S. House of Representatives. The overseas population shifted a
congressional seat from Massachusetts to Washington.
Massachusetts unsuccessfully challenged the Census Bureau’s decision to
include overseas military and federal personnel in a case that went to
the U.S. Supreme Court (Franklin v. Massachusetts, 505 U.S. 788, 1992).
The Court found that the Commerce Secretary’s decision to include
members of the military stationed overseas in the apportionment totals
could not be reviewed as a “final agency action” under the
Administrative Procedure Act. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, writing for
a unanimous court, also wrote that including overseas government
personnel was a reasonable interpretation of the intent of the
Constitution’s census clause (Article I, section 2) to count people at
their “usual place of residence.” Washington State intervened as a
party in support of the Commerce Department’s position.
The Administration also announced the nomination of April Boyd to be
Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Legislative and Intergovernmental
Affairs, a position that requires Senate confirmation. Ms. Boyd is the
chief of staff to Rep. Ellen Tauscher (D-CA) and previously held
positions with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and in the U.S. Department of
Energy and U.S. General Services Administration.
Census News Briefs are prepared by Terri Ann Lowenthal, an independent
legislative and policy consultant working with a wide range of census
stakeholders to promote an accurate 2010 census. 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
19900 Governors Dr
Olympia Fields, IL 60461