November 2015 Update

Today, two subcommittees will hold a joint hearing on the Census Bureau’s use of technology to improve the next decennial census and to reduce costs. This update also includes information on the Census Bureau’s Fiscal Year 2016 budget; new resource information (posted on the Census Project’s website) on the 2020 Census Operational Plan; and the U.S. Conference of Mayors new 2020 Census Task Force.

1. Appropriations update: Congress and the Administration have reached a budget deal for FY2016 (and FY2017) that will increase the overall spending limit for non-defense discretionary programs by $25 billion for the fiscal year that started October 1st. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees must now revise the 12 annual funding bills, and Congress must enact them, before the temporary spending bill (Continuing Resolution) expires on December 11th. The Census Project will circulate a sign-on letter later this week, urging appropriators to increase funding substantially for 2020 Census planning and the American Community Survey (ACS); the Commerce, Justice, and Science bills approved over the summer cut the budget significantly for both programs. (Congress is likely to roll all 12 appropriations bills into one Omnibus measure.)

2. Other congressional news: Two subcommittees of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which has jurisdiction over Census Bureau programs, will hold a joint hearing, “Preparing for the 2020 Census: Will the Technology be Ready?,” on Tuesday, Nov. 3, at 2:00pm in 2154 Rayburn House Office Building. The Subcommittee on Information Technology is chaired by Rep. William Hurd (R-TX); the Subcommittee on Government Operations is chaired by Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).

3. 2020 Census update: Census Director John Thompson and Associate Director for the Decennial Census, Lisa Blumerman, discussed the 2020 Census Operational Plan with Census Project stakeholders during an October 21st telephone briefing. The Bureau released the baseline plan on October 6th. The slides that accompanied the presentation are posted on our website.

4. Stakeholder news: The U.S. Conference of Mayors selected San Antonio Mayor Ivy Taylor to chair its Census Task Force for the 2020 Census. Mayor Taylor, a nonpartisan office holder, was elected on June 13, 2015, but she was previously appointed to the position when President Obama nominated former Mayor Julian Castro to be the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. The Conference is the official, non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or higher.