From: Census2000 <Census2000(a)ccmc.org>
House Appropriations Panel Approves Census Funding Bill;
Emergency Designation Draws Protests from Democrats
The Census Bureau's funding bill for fiscal year 2000 (FY00) took
another halting step forward as the House Committee on Appropriations
approved the FY00 Commerce, Justice, State and The Judiciary spending
measure on July 30. The bill (which is not yet numbered) includes $4.476
billion for Census 2000 operations, $3.4 billion over this year's level
but $11.3 million below the Administration's request.
The Commerce-Justice-State bill, one of 13 spending bills for all
federal activities, allocates a total of $4.619 billion for all Census
Bureau programs and expenses. The Census 2000 funds were designated as
"emergency spending," exempting the money from a discretionary spending
cap in the budget resolution adopted last spring. Budget rules allow
lawmakers to designate certain funds as emergency spending, if the
expenditure is "unforeseen, unpredictable, and unanticipated."
The committee report explaining the spending bill states that the
emergency designation is "due to the unanticipated costs associated with
the recent Supreme Court decision regarding the conduct of the 2000
Census, and the delay in receiving the Administration's estimate of the
cost" after the Court's January ruling on the use of sampling. At
Friday's session, Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), who chairs the panel's
Commerce subcommittee, said the Clinton Administration's failure in the
past two years to provide a full cost estimate for the census forced
appropriators to declare census operations an emergency.
Democrats tried to eliminate the emergency designation during the
'mark-up' session. Rep. David Obey (D-WI), the committee's senior
Democrat, offered two amendments, one to remove the designation from all
Census 2000 funds and another to retain the emergency classification
only for the $1.7 billion supplemental appropriation the President
requested in June. Both amendments were defeated on party line votes.
The Commerce bill earmarks spending on broad census operational
categories. The $4.476 billion is distributed as follows (rounded to the
nearest million): Program Development and Management, $20 million; Data
Content and Products, $195 million; Field Data Collection and Support
Services, $3.450 billion; Address List Development, $44 million;
Automated Data Processing and Telecommunications Support, $447 million;
Testing and Evaluation, $16 million; census operations in Puerto Rico,
the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Pacific areas, $71 million; and Marketing,
and Communications, and Partnerships, $199 million. The Census 2000
appropriation also includes $3.5 million for the eight-member Census
Monitoring Board. The Census Bureau is required to submit monthly
spending reports to Congress. And in a move that Census Bureau Director
Kenneth Prewitt warned could hamstring the Bureau if unexpected problems
arise during the count, the measure requires the agency to seek approval
from Congress before shifting money from one activity to another.
The President's budget had included $25 million for the American
Community Survey (ACS) in the Census 2000 account. The committee
instead appropriated $20 million (a freeze at this year's funding level)
for continued development of the ACS in a broader Census Bureau
account. The ACS will provide updated demographic and socio-economic
information every year, starting in 2003 for larger areas and for all
communities by 2008. If fully implemented on schedule, the survey may
eliminate the need for a traditional census long form in 2010.
Additional committee concerns: Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), the senior
Democrat on the Commerce appropriations subcommittee, advocated
including the population of Puerto Rico in the total population of the
United States. Currently, when the Census Bureau reports the nation's
population, it includes the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Rep. Dan Miller (R-FL) opposed the idea, saying it represented a major
policy change that deserved a thorough review. Rep. Miller, chairman
of the census oversight subcommittee and also an appropriations panel
member, pledged a hearing on the issue in the fall. The committee
report explaining the spending bill directs the Census Bureau to study
Rep. Serrano's proposal and report back to Congress by September 1. The
committee also applauded as "a positive development" the decision to
collect most of the same information from residents of Puerto Rico that
is collected on the census short and long forms in the States. Rep.
Serrano is Puerto Rican. In its report, legislators instructed the
Census Bureau to develop methods for counting private American citizens
living overseas in the census "at the earliest possible time," and to
report its plans to Congress. The committee also urged the Bureau to
ensure that deaf persons can participate in the census.
Background on Census Bureau funding: Funding for the decennial census
falls under the Periodic Censuses and Programs account ("Periodics"),
one of two main funding categories for the Census Bureau. Periodics
includes other cyclical programs such as the Census of Governments and
the Economic Censuses, as well as support activities such as data
processing infrastructure and geographic systems. The
committee-approved FY00 bill allocates $4.619 billion for the Periodics
account, about $19.2 million below the President's request (including
the $11.3 million reduction from the request for Census 2000). The
second main category, Salaries and Expenses, pays for ongoing
statistical programs such as the Current Population Survey, which
produce a wide range of economic, demographic, and social information.
The appropriations committee allocated $136 million for these data
activities, a freeze at this year's funding level and about $20.8
million below the Administration's request.
Budget figure correction: The July 23 News Alert included an incorrect
figure of $1.8 billion for this year's (fiscal year 1999) Census 2000
funding level. The correct figure is $1.072 billion (original $1.027
billion allocation plus a $45 million supplemental appropriation in
May). We apologize for the error.
Other legislative news: The House Subcommittee on the Census held a
hearing on July 27 to review plans for a paid advertising campaign to
promote Census 2000. The oversight panel heard testimony from Census
Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt; Ms. Terry Peel of Young & Rubicam, the
firm developing the ad campaign; Mr. Sam Chisolm of the Chisolm-Mingo
Group, the firm responsible for the portion of the campaign aimed at
African Americans; and Mr. Curtis Zunigha, a member of the Bureau's
Advisory Committee on the American Indian and Alaska Native
Populations. A representative from Scholastic, Inc. was not available
to discuss the Census in the Schools program, as originally planned.
Due to the urgency of funding issues while Congress is in session, we
will provide more information on the advertising oversight hearing in
the near future. Interested stakeholders may request copies of the
written testimony from the Subcommittee on the Census, at 202/226-1973.
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. For copies of previous News Alerts and other
information, use our web site www.census2000.org
<http://www.census2000.org>. Please direct all requests to receive News
Alerts, and all changes in address/phone/fax/e-mail, to the Census 2000
Initiative at Census2000(a)ccmc.org or 202/326-8700. Please feel free to
circulate this information to colleagues and other interested