Date: Fri, 26 Jun 1998 11:29:51 -0400
From: Keri Monihan <kmonihan(a)ccmc.org>
Controversy Over Census Methods Continues As Appropriators
Consider FY99 Funding
House Census Chairman Questions Qualifications Of Census
Bureau Director Nominee
The House and Senate appropriations panels took their first
steps this week toward crafting bills to fund the Census
Bureau in the fiscal year starting on October 1, 1998. The
Fiscal Year 1999 Commerce, Justice, State, and The Judiciary
Appropriations bill was approved by the Senate's
subcommittee and full appropriations panel while only the
counterpart House subcommittee completed its work before
legislators headed home for the July 4th break.
The Senate committee allocated $848 million for 2000 census
preparations, the amount requested by the President.
Subcommittee Chairman Judd Gregg (R-NH) indicated at the
June 23 subcommittee 'mark-up' that the final debate over
the use of sampling methods would be put off until next
year. He also criticized the Census Bureau's report to
Congress earlier this year, which spelled out the Bureau's
plan for taking a census without sampling.
The House subcommittee that funds the Census Bureau, chaired
by Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), allocated $956 million for the
2000 census, which includes $4 million for the Census
Monitoring Board. However, only half of that amount would
be available for the Census Bureau to spend through March
31, 1999. The remaining $476 million cannot be spent until
the President, by March 15, formally requests the funds and
gives a cost estimate for completion of the census.
Congress then has until March 31 to pass legislation
allowing the Bureau to spend the remaining funds. The bill
does not specify what will happen if Congress and the
President fail to agree on releasing the funds by that date.
The subcommittee's senior Democrat, Rep. Alan Mollohan
(D-WV), expressed "dismay" at the bill's provisions. He
argued that it violated last year's agreement between
congressional Republican leaders and the White House to put
pressure on both sides to resolve the sampling issue by
subjecting the entire appropriations bill to another funding
vote in March, 1999. Rep. Mollohan said that the President
would insist on upholding the agreed-upon procedure or push
for a resolution of the sampling controversy this Fall.
Census Bureau Director update: As expected, on June 23, the
President nominated Dr. Kenneth Prewitt, president of the
Social Science Research Council, to be the next head of the
Census Bureau. The nomination will go before the Senate
Committee on Governmental Affairs, chaired by Senator Fred
Thompson (R-TN). Commerce Secretary William Daley called
Dr. Prewitt "one of this nation's most distinguished social
scientists and experienced executives and he called upon the
Senate to consider the nomination quickly. Dr. Prewitt,
speaking at a press conference announcing his selection,
said it is "unfortunate that Census 2000 has become prey to
partisan disagreements." He pledged to work closely with
Congress to "establish in principle and in fact that the
Census Bureau is a nonpartisan agency obligated by law and
guided by professional traditions to present the most
accurate statistics technically possible, at a reasonable
cost." He did not indicate in his prepared remarks whether
he supported the use of sampling in the census.
In a statement on the House floor that evening, census
oversight Chairman Dan Miller (R-FL) questioned Dr.
Prewitt's qualifications for the position. He said that Dr.
Prewitt received the nomination only because he met the
President's "litmus test" of support for sampling, and
suggested that the nominee did not have the management
experience to "lead a huge organization at a time of crisis.
...[h]e ran a think tank, and that is it." Rep. Miller went
on to say: "The Census Bureau needs a General Schwarzkopf,
not a Professor Sherman Klunk, to save the census." In a
separate written statement, the chairman said he hoped that
if Dr. Prewitt is confirmed, he will "demonstrate some
independence from the political handlers in the Clinton
Rep. Miller also defended his subcommittee staff director,
Thomas Hofeller, from charges made by some Members of
Congress that Mr. Hofeller had injected racial politics into
the debate over sampling. Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), a member
of the census subcommittee, called a quote by Mr. Hofeller
in a recent column by David Broder (see June 22 News Alert)
"reprehensible" and "race-laden" and he called upon Chairman
Miller to repudiate the statement. Rep. Miller responded
that Mr. Hofeller's quote was taken out of context and that
his staff director had assisted minorities in gaining
political representation through the redistricting process.
Census Monitoring Board update: The Census Monitoring Board
will hold its second meeting on July 8. The location and
time for the meeting have not been announced. The Board's
co-chairs have appointed their respective top staffers.
Fred Asbell, executive director for Republican co-chair
Kenneth Blackwell, most recently has worked in the
international telecommunications arena. He served in senior
staff positions at the Department of Labor during the Reagan
Administration and in Congress, and also has held several
senior positions at the Republican National Committee and
the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. Mark
Johnson, appointed by Democratic co-chair Tony Coelho, just
completed a stint as U.S. Deputy Commissioner General at
World Expo '98 in Lisbon, Portugal, where he also directed
the American Pavilion under Commissioner General Coelho. He
has worked in journalism and in Congress, and directed
communications at the Democratic Congressional Campaign
Committee in the mid-1980s.
Legal update: A federal court in Virginia is set to hear
oral arguments in a second case challenging the
constitutionality of sampling in the census. A three-judge
U.S. District Court panel will take up Glavin v. Clinton on
August 7, at 10 a.m., at the federal courthouse in Roanoke,
Virginia (Poff Federal Building, 210 Franklin Rd., S.W.).
The lawsuit was filed in February by Matthew Glavin,
president of the Atlanta-based Southeastern Legal
Foundation, Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), and other individual
plaintiffs. Several counties have moved to join the
sampling opponents in the case, while other cities, states,
counties and Members of Congress have asked to intervene on
the government's side.
Executive Branch activities: William G. Barron, Jr., deputy
commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), has
been named Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Economic
Affairs, the number-two position in the Department's
Economic and Statistics Administration which oversees the
Census Bureau. Mr. Barron, who spent 30 years as a career
civil servant at BLS, will focus on budget and management
issues affecting the 2000 census.
The Press Beat: The Detroit Free Press (6/15/98), Pittsburgh
Post-Gazette (6/14/98), and The Buffalo News (6/15/98) have
published editorials in support of the Census Bureau's plan
for the 2000 census. We encourage stakeholders to speak with
journalists in their communities about the importance of an
accurate and cost-effective census.
Questions about the information contained in this News Alert
may be directed to TerriAnn Lowenthal at (202) 484-2270 or,
by e-mail at <terriann2k(a)aol.com>om>. Please direct all
requests to receive News Alerts, and all changes in
address/phone/fax/e-mail, to Keri Monihan at
<kmonihan(a)ccmc.org> or 202/326-8728. Please feel free to
circulate this information to colleagues and other