Major Media Roundup
BisNow article, “U.S. Census Troubles Threaten Future Real Estate Development,” July 25
New York Times opinion piece, “Save the Census,” July 17
Los Angeles Times opinion piece, “California would be primary victim in a GOP War on the Census,” July 16
John Thompson interview on National Public Radio, July 15
Census Bureau Leadership
On June 29, former Census Bureau Director John Thompson informed Census Bureau staff that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had named Ron Jarmin, Associate Director for Economic Programs, and Enrique Lamas, Associate Director for Demographic Programs, to the positions of Acting Director and Acting Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer, respectively. Mr. Thompson also informed staff that Secretary Ross had named Arnold Jackson, former Associate Director for Decennial Census under Secretary Gutierrez, as a consultant. All of these positions were effective July 1.
On July 24, the Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics announced that Mr. Thompson had been hired as its new Executive Director.
Call for Nominations for Census Scientific Advisory Committee
On July 18, the Census Bureau announced a call for nominations of individuals and organizations to serve on the Census Scientific Advisory Committee. Members advise the Census Bureau Director on statistical data collection, analysis, and methodology, as well as other technical issues affecting the full range of Census Bureau activities and programs. Nominations are due August 11. Please refer to the notice in the Federal Register for additional information.
July was a busy month in which both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees acted on their respective versions of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, which funds, among other agencies, the Census Bureau.
On July 13, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2018 CJS bill, providing the Census Bureau with $1.51 billion, which is $37 million over the FY 2017 level and $10 million more than the amount requested by the President. In a report accompanying the bill, the Committee encouraged the Census Bureau to “consider” restoring the two canceled dress rehearsal sites in Washington state and West Virginia. During the mark up, Congressman Jose Serrano offered an amendment that would have, among other things, provided the Bureau with an additional $384.2 million — enough funding to restore fully all three End-to-End Census Test sites. The amendment failed on a party-line vote. However, several members, Congresswoman Meng (D-NY) and Congressman Cartwright (D-PA), spoke in support of the amendment, while, during her opening remarks, the Ranking Member of the full committee, Congresswoman Lowey (D-NY), expressed concern about the bill’s inadequate level of funding for the Census Bureau.
On July 27, the Senate Appropriations Committee reported its version of the FY 2018 CJS bill. Their version provided the Census Bureau with $1.521 billion in funding for FY 2018, $14 million more than the amount proposed in the House bill. That amount is an increase of $51 million compared to FY 2017 and $24 million more than the amount requested by the Administration. In a report accompanying the bill, the Committee states it will reevaluate any proposed changes to the periodic census account, which includes the decennial census operations, once the Department of Commerce completes its review of the 2020 Census costs. In its report, the Committee continues to urge the Bureau to “bring down the cost of the 2020 Decennial Census to a level less than the 2010 Census, not adjusting for inflation.”
When Congress returns in September, the CJS bill may be incorporated into a larger FY 2018 spending measure that includes other appropriations bills. Census stakeholders are continuing to urge Congress to provide the Census Bureau with $1.8 billion in FY 2018, a level that the Census Bureau needs to fully fund its programs and restore all 2020 Census preparations.