With the start of peak 2020 Census nearly upon us, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) recently led an appeal from 25 Senators urging a direct full-year appropriation for the Census Bureau (at the stakeholder-requested level, including $7.5 billion for the 2020 Census) as part of the Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government.
The Census Bureau, said the Senators, must “have certainty of full funding, as well as flexibility, at the start of the fiscal year to ensure that its final preparations and operations for the decennial census are not negatively impacted.” Failure on that front could depress participation and increase “operational mistakes and failures in 2020, which then would increase census costs by billions of dollars as the census unfolds, diminish public confidence in the results, and put a fair and accurate 2020 Census in jeopardy.”
Without this “appropriate” up-front funding in FY20 will hurt a variety of efforts, such as: “recruiting, hiring, and training of field staff; verifying and updating the final address list; preparing and strengthening cybersecurity and other IT systems; completing robust advertising and messaging campaigns; and preparing for the launch of peak counting operations in remote areas of Alaska, which must start in January 2021. Each component of the decennial census is equally important and has been carefully planned out over the past decade.”
Read the Senators’ letter.