Administration seeks $1.7B more for census

The Clinton administration is requesting an additional $1.7 billion in fiscal 2000 to help the Census Bureau comply with a January Supreme Court decision requiring the bureau to use more traditional methods to provide figures for the apportionment of House seats.

"The FY2000 costs, over and above the budget originally submitted by the President, relate to this specific requirement," Census Bureau Director Kenneth Prewitt said today in a statement. "The Census Bureau is increasing its public outreach and advertising campaign ..." Prewitt last week said that about 85-90 percent of the added money would be needed to comply with the court decision.

The Supreme Court has ruled the bureau cannot use statistical sampling to produce numbers for apportionment of House seats. To comply with the court ruling, the bureau now intends to use traditional methods for apportionment purposes, but proceed with a modified sampling plan that will yield numbers for House redistricting, distribution of federal funds and other purposes.

House Government Reform Census Subcommittee ranking member Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said the Republican-backed use of traditional census methods will be less accurate and more costly.

"Today the bill came due for the Republican census lawsuit. Taxpayers have to shell out ... for a less accurate count. This is a lose-lose proposition," Maloney said in a statement.

As the Office of Management and Budget prepared to release its revised FY2000 budget request for the Commerce-Justice-State spending bill, which includes census operations, the administration today briefed Appropriations Committee staff on how the additional money would be spent.

The spending will be part of a $4.512 billion request to fund the decennial census, as opposed to the nearly $2.8 billion originally requested. The increase includes $954 million to hire enumerators to follow up on those who do not return census forms, $268 million for the technology to collect census data, and $229 million to track missing information on forms.

The bureau also plans to spend $96 million to improve its rural address list, $89 million more to advertise the census, and $141 million to operate its data processing centers longer.

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