From: Census2000 <Census2000(a)ccmc.org>
Census Funding Bills Move Forward in House and Senate;Path to Final Action in the Fall
Census Bureau Clarifies Policy on Hiring Non-Citizens
The House of Representatives took its first step yesterday toward funding next year's
census as an Appropriations Committee panel approved its version of the Commerce spending
bill for the fiscal year that starts on October 1, 1999. The Subcommittee on Commerce,
Justice, State, and The Judiciary, chaired by Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY),
allocated about $4.5 billion for final census preparations and operations. The amount
includes an extra $1.7 billion the Administration requested on June 1st to pay for a
revised plan without sampling to count some of the anticipated 46 million households that
won't mail back a questionnaire.
The 1997 balanced budget law forced House and Senate appropriators to work within spending
limits for discretionary (i.e. non-mandatory)
programs that are below this year's levels. The committees have been shifting money
among the 13 main federal budget accounts to meet spending priorities while sticking to
the overall budget ceiling. Before the Commerce subcommittee met, appropriators added to
funds to its account to bring the total spending level for the fiscal year 2000 (FY00)
measure to $35.8 billion.
The subcommittee paid for the large jump in census costs (this year's Census 2000
allocation is $1.8 billion) by classifying Census 2000 funding as "emergency"
spending. Budget rules exempt emergency spending from annual caps, giving lawmakers a way
to spend more without cutting
funds for other programs. It is not clear whether the full House, the Senate, and the
Administration will support such a funding maneuver. The Commerce-Justice-State bill
approved by the subcommittee includes $35.8
The Senate also debated its version of the FY00 Commerce spending measure this week. The
Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill (S.1217) more than a month ago that does
not include the extra funds the Administration requested to comply with a January Supreme
Court decision. The Court ruled that federal law prohibits sampling methods
to calculate the state population totals used for congressional apportionment.
Several senators, including Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Richard Durbin (D-IL), and Dianne
Feinstein (D-CA), urged full funding for census
operations. But they declined to offer amendments to provide the money, noting that the
appropriations panel will hold a hearing (possibly next week) to review the request for
supplemental funds. The Senate approved S. 1217 by voice vote yesterday.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), the senior Democrat on the census oversight subcommittee,
said that while the funding level in the House bill is "great news," the
"Republicans created this mergency" by failing to support a "less
expensive, more accurate census plan." Congress tentatively plans to start its
summer recess on August 7; legislators would not return to Washington until after Labor
Census 2000 hiring policy changes: The Census Bureau has issued a new policy regarding
citizenship requirements for temporary Census 2000
jobs, including enumerator, office manager, and partnership specialist positions. A
waiver granted by the Department of Commerce will allow
the Bureau to hire employees without giving priority to U.S. citizens. Job applicants must
be legally eligible to work in the United States.
The revised policy reflects the Bureau's goal of hiring census workers who live in the
neighborhoods they will count. Originally the Bureau said it would hire non-citizens only
if qualified citizens are not available, in accordance with federal hiring rules.
Immigrant advocates countered that communities where large numbers of non-citizens live
would be hard to count accurately unless local residents are hired to conduct outreach
activities and visit unresponsive households. The Bureau said it would change its
recruitment and training materials to
remove citizenship as a criterion. The agency says it must hire about 860,000 temporary
workers to conduct the 2000 census.
Congressional hearing planned: The House Subcommittee on the Census will hold a hearing on
July 27th to review the Census 2000 paid advertising campaign and the Census in the
Schools program. The hearing will begin at 10:00 a.m. in room 2247 Rayburn House Office
Building. The panel is expected to hear testimony from the Census Bureau, Census 2000
advertising firms, school materials developer Scholastic, Inc., and the Bureau's
stakeholder advisory committees.
Last March, the Committee on Government Reform approved several measures sponsored by
census panel Chairman Dan Miller (R-FL), including bills to authorize $300 million for
census outreach and advertising and to increase outreach to schools and teachers.
Although there were no hearings on the legislation, Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt
said at the time that he did not oppose the proposals as long as Congress allocated
sufficient funds for the activities.
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>. For copies of
previous News Alerts and other information, use our web site www.census2000.org