Last Friday, President Trump finally signed an omnibus spending bill for the entire federal government for this fiscal year, including the FY2018 appropriation for the Census Bureau and the 2020 Census.
The new FY2018 Census Bureau budget is one billion dollars over the administration request and represents a Congressional acknowledgment of what the Census Project and its stakeholders have been saying for a number of months.
The “ramp-up” of intense activities to support the next decennial now requires billions of dollars in new monies to ensure a fair and accurate census.
In response to the approval of the new budget numbers, the Census Project said, “The dismal trend of many years of underfunding 2020 Census preparations has finally been reversed with bipartisan support in Congress. Our assessment is the Bureau now has the minimum resources needed to prepare for its Constitutional mandate. However, the FY2019 funding level will be critical, and supporters of a full, fair, and accurate count will remain vigilant.”
The final FY2018 budget provides for a new $50 million contingency fund to meet unforeseen emergencies, an immediate ramp-up of the communications and community partnership effort, and a requirement that the Census Bureau quickly inform Congress of how it intends to utilize its new resources on behalf of the 2020 Census.
Now the challenge of the FY 2019 Census Bureau budget begins!