While Congress made significant progress this summer passing 5 of the 12 appropriations bills, the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) appropriations bill, which funds the Census Bureau, was not one of them. Fortunately, Congress and the Administration agreed to a short-term continuing resolution funding many federal agencies, including the Census Bureau, through December 7, 2018. As a result of the approximately $1 billion in carry over funds that the Fiscal Year 2018 omnibus appropriations measure provided to the Census Bureau, the agency has additional resources to draw from while a final FY 2019 CJS bill is negotiated. Congress is expected to consider the CJS bill when it reconvenes for a lame duck session after the mid-term elections in November.
Dillingham nomination proceeds
On October 3, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee held a hearing to consider the nomination of Dr. Steven Dillingham to be the next Director of the U.S. Census Bureau. The hearing, which was attended by most of the committee’s 15 members, featured questions on an array of topics. Dr. Dillingham was pressed to express his position on the Administration’s proposed citizenship question as well as to reflect on the Bureau’s process for developing, testing, and placing questions. Further, Dr. Dillingham was asked about his plans for recruiting Census 2020 field staff, addressing the undercount of children, rural populations, and American Indians, controlling decennial census costs, ensuring integrity and security of data, tackling IT challenges, and boosting the partnership program and communications campaign. Dr. Dillingham did not explicitly state his position on the citizenship question, but rather stated his intention to work with the experts at the Census Bureau to evaluate the question’s impact. Overall, if confirmed, he expressed a desire to work with the committee and census stakeholders. At press time, the committee had not announced a date for voting on Dr. Dillingham’s nomination. The full hearing can be viewed at: http://www.hsgac.senate.gov/hearings/09/25/2018/nominations.
Prior to the hearing, The Census Project Co-Directors sent a letter to the chair and ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee urging the committee to consider Dr. Dillingham’s credentials and the challenging issues that the next Census Bureau Director faces.
The Census Project
In September, The Census Project unveiled a report conducted by the George Washington University Institute of Public Policy, “Census Guided Financial Assistance to Rural America.” The report identified major federal programs that serve rural America. Specifically, the report’s author Dr. Andrew Reamer found that census data guides the distribution of approximately $30 billion a year to major rural targeted programs. The report was featured in several press accounts, including U.S. News and World Report (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2018-09-14/under-represented-states-in-census-will-miss-out-on-federal-funding-study-finds). The study is the focus of a congressional briefing that the House Rural Caucus is sponsoring on October 11.
Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality
In September, the Georgetown Law’s Center on Poverty and Inequality issued two census related reports, which are posted on The Census Project home page:
- Counting People Experiencing Homelessness: A Guide to Census 2020 Operations
- Citizenship Question Won’t Perform Well, New Analysis Shows
There was a lot of news related to the ongoing legal challenges to the Administration’s proposed citizenship question. The Census Project home page has posted numerous articles that appeared during the month of September regarding these developments. Links to the below articles and editorials are available at: https://thecensusproject.org/recent-media/.