Fiscal Year 2022 Enacted: Census Bureau Receives Less Than Expected

Almost six months after Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 began, Congress passed the FY 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act, H.R. 2471, a bill funding all Federal agencies through September 30, 2022. For the bill to be properly enrolled and presented to the President for his signature, Congress passed a third continuing resolution to keep the federal government open through March 15. President Biden signed the Act into law on March 15.

The Act provides the Census Bureau with $1.354 billion, $88 million below the amount ($1.442 billion) requested by President Biden and approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and $78 million below the level ($1.432 billion) recommended by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. While less than the House and Senate had recommended, the FY22 funding level is $248 million above the Bureau’s FY 2021 enacted funding level ($1.106 billion).

Of the $1.354 billion that the Census Bureau received, $300 million was allocated to the Current Surveys and Programs account along with language expressing congressional “support” for the new High Frequency Data Program and directing the Bureau to spend no less than the amount it spent in FY 2021 on the Survey of Income and Program Participation. The remaining funds, $1.054 billion, were allocated to the Periodic Census and Programs account. Language in this section of the bill directed the Bureau to follow provisions enacted in the FY 2021 funding bill regarding the American Community Survey, cybersecurity, and the Bureau’s existing partnerships with libraries and community technology centers.

In conference report language accompanying the FY 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act, Congress directs the Bureau to “follow all administrative rules and procedures with respect to adding or modifying existing survey content, and to keep the Committees apprised of these efforts.” This language was adopted in lieu of provisions in the FY 2022 House Commerce Justice Science Appropriations report that directed the Bureau “to begin research or pilot development on proxy data collection of SOGI [Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity] questions in current surveys…” and to report to Congress “on its plan for implementing updated race and ethnicity questions for the 2030 Census and the American Community Survey, including whether the Census Bureau believes that additional testing will be necessary.”

Pundits predict that President Biden will submit his proposed FY 2023 budget to Congress by the end of March. The Census Project will be issuing its official FY 2023 funding recommendation once additional details about the President’s request are available.

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