The latest Continuing Resolution funding the federal government contains increased funding for the 2020 Census, improving the odds of decennial preparations getting completed and setting the stage for the completion of full-year funding before the end of the year.
The President signed the extension of appropriations on November 21, 2019, following votes to approve it in the House by a 231-192 vote, and in the Senate by a 74-20 vote. This CR will expire on December 20.
Unlike the last CR (which provided flat funding, but allowed the Census Bureau a mostly-useless authority to spend at an accelerated rate), this second FY20 continuing funding resolution (H.R. 3055) gave the Census Bureau an operational spending rate of $7.3 billion (during the CR) for the Periodic Censuses and Programs account (which amounts to our requested amount of at least $6.7 billion for the 2020 Census). It also allows the Census Bureau to spend $90 million to launch its mobile Question Assistance Centers.
As the Insights Association works the hill in support of full and final FY20 funding for the 2020 Census as soon as legislatively possible, "the results in this latest legislation set the bar for funding at a reasonable level," according to IA's VP Advocacy, Howard Fienberg. The Senate Appropriations Committee already agreed to $6.7 billion for the 2020 Census, so this outcome makes the most sense anyhow. "The trick remains to finalize the Census Bureau's appropriations so that the decennial headcount can get underway without hesitation and produce the most accurate data possible, for the country, and for the marketing research and data analytics industry," Fienberg, continued.
That Congress reported an agreement this weekend on top-line spending levels for all their funding bills, presents the chance to finalize them before December 20 and avoid a potential government shutdown, which would be disastrous for the 2020 Census. As the Census Project recently warned Congress, "The window of opportunity to ensure a successful 2020 Census is closing," since the decennial is basically already starting.