Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Steve Daines (R-MT) introduced the Metropolitan Statistical Area Stabilization Act (S. 1431), legislation that would prohibit the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from raising “the minimum urban area population to qualify a metropolitan statistical area from 50,000.”
OMB decides upon metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas according to 2010 standards applied to Census Bureau data.
A current OMB proposal would increase that 50,000 resident threshold to 100,000. According to a report from the Bookings Institution, that would “bump 142 metro areas that include 251 counties and nearly 19 million people into nonmetro status.” Because “many federal programs rely on the metro/nonmetro designations for policy and funding,” numerous state and local government organizations oppose the OMB proposal.