Sending Office: Honorable Carolyn B. Maloney
Sent By:
Max.Whitcomb@mail.house.gov

 

Request for Signature(s)

Support full funding for the Census Bureau for the Remainder of FY2018

Closing COB 3/1

Dear Colleague,

As Congress considers funding for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2018, please join us in urging the House Appropriations Committee to fully fund the Department of Commerce’s supplemental FY 2018 request for the Census Bureau as well as provide additional amounts
necessary for contingencies and communications activities in preparation for the 2020 decennial census.

There are few federal programs that directly impact federal, state, local, and private-sector investment decisions more than the Constitutionally-mandated Decennial Census. The Census helps to determine the allocation of hundreds of billions of dollars in annual
federal funding, business investment decisions, as well as representation at all levels of government.

Despite its central importance to both the public and private sectors, historically low levels of funding have put the 2020 Decennial Census at great risk. Planning and preparation for the 2020 Census is not where it needs to be at this point. Important on
the ground testing has been scaled back or cancelled and information technology development is also running behind schedule, leaving the success of the 2020 Decennial Census in question. As a result, some communities and socio-economic groups could be undercounted
in the next Census, or altogether left out of.

In October 2017, the administration requested an additional $187 million for the development and deployment of IT systems that have faced significant delays and cost overruns. Although the $182 million included as an anomaly in the Bipartisan Budget Act of
2018 was a positive development, additional funding is needed now for contingencies, on the ground field activities, education, outreach, and partnership activities. These operations are proven to boost self-response and cut costs by reducing the need for
expensive follow up to non-responsive households.

These programs are critical in engaging traditionally hard to count populations, including those living in rural areas and immigrant and non-English speaking communities who are already at serious risk of being undercounted in 2020.

With so much at stake, the choice is simple. Either we can commit to providing the Census Bureau with proper resources now or ask our constituents to pay far more later to make up for poor planning, as was necessary during the 2010 Census cycle.

Please join us in supporting full funding for the Census Bureau at this critical time in the Decennial Census cycle. If you have any questions or would like to sign the letter, please have your staff contact Max Whitcomb (Rep. Maloney) at
Max.Whitcomb@mail.house.gov). Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

CAROLYN B. MALONEY

Member of Congress

 

—————————————

March X, 2018

 

 

The Honorable Rodney P. Frelinghuysen                                 The Honorable Nita Lowey

Chairman                                                                                 Ranking Member

House Committee on Appropriations                                       House Committee on Appropriations

H-305, The Capitol                                                                  H-305, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515                                                                        Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Frelinghuysen and Ranking Member Lowey:

 

We write to call your attention to the unprecedented risks facing the 2020 Census, which as the result of chronic underfunding, threaten the Census Bureau’s ability to conduct a fair, accurate, and cost-effective decennial census. As you know, the discretionary
funding caps for Fiscal Year 2018 were recently increased under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA).  As you work to finalize funding for the remainder of FY 2018, we request that in addition to the $182 million anomaly included in the recent budget agreement,
you provide the funding necessary to fully fund the Department of Commerce’s supplemental FY 2018 request as well as provide additional amounts necessary for contingencies and communications activities.

 

Few federal programs directly impact federal, state, local, and private-sector investment decisions more than the Constitutionally-mandated decennial census. Yet, despite its central importance to both the public and private sectors, planning and preparation
for the 2020 Census is far from adequate. Budget constraints have forced the Bureau to scale back or cancel important tests, delay outreach to local communities including the hiring of partnership specialists to engage hard to count populations, and fall behind
on developing and implementing both new technologies and a messaging strategy.

 

Last fall, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross testified before Congress that the Bureau requires an additional $187 million for information technology systems, systems integration, and 2018 End-to-End test readiness.  We are pleased that the Secretary revised
the Administration’s initial request to reflect the Commerce Department’s updated lifecycle cost estimate for the 2020 Census, and we are glad to see that Congress partially funded this request as part of the $182 million agreed to in the BBA.

 

However, we are concerned that the funding level included in the BBA remain inadequate.  Secretary Ross’s supplemental request contained no funding for the integrated partnerships or a communications programs, and did not include the $50 million he deemed
necessary to address contingencies, and the BBA funding does not fully cover the Secretary’s request.  For this reason, we are requesting additional funds be provided to allow the Bureau to restore the Current Surveys and Programs account back to its FY17
level, establish the $50 million contingency fund, fully fund the stalled Integrated Partnership and Communications contract, and increase the number of Partnership Specialists from 43 to 200 in FY18.  Adequately funding the partnership and communications
programs is particularly critical for the 2020 Census, as new qualitative research from the Bureau confirms that individuals are expressing an “unprecedented” level of concern regarding the confidentiality of the data they provide. Fully funding these initiatives
will ultimately increase accuracy and save taxpayer dollars by boosting awareness of the Census’ importance and reducing the need for costly non-response follow-up by increasing voluntary response rates.

 

It is important to note that at risk populations are not just limited to traditionally hard-to-count populations, but also those displaced by recent hurricanes and wildfires. The 2010 Census saw significant counting challenges in Gulf Coast Communities recovering
from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita more than four years prior to the decennial census, and we should anticipate similar challenges as a result of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and the wildfires and mudslides in western states. Increased funding is required for
a more tailored public outreach approach in these communities, which was necessary in the 2010 Census.

 

The 2020 Census is anticipated to be the largest and most digitally-advanced in American history through its embrace of Internet response and other cost saving technology. Given the many leadership, funding and public trust challenges the Bureau faces, we
strongly urge you to provide the Bureau with all of the resources it needs to fulfill its constitutional duty to execute a full, fair, and accurate decennial census. We thank you for your attention to this matter.

 

 

 

 

Sincerely,

Carolyn B. Maloney                             Gerald E. Connolly                             Keith Ellison

Member of Congress                            Member of Congress                            Member of Congress

CC: The Honorable John Culberson

The Honorable José E. Serrano

 

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