WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) introduced the Census Funding Cap Adjustment Act (CFCA), a bill to ensure the Census Bureau is adequately funded in advance of the 2020 decennial census.
Historically, federal funding has increased significantly in the years preceding a decennial census, but President Trump’s 2018 budget proposal requested $1.497 billion for the Census Bureau, which at just a 2% increase over FY2017 funding, is tantamount to flat funding. The current continuing resolution funding the government does not fund the Census Bureau above the FY 2017 level and there was no significant ramp up in funding during the first quarter of FY 2018, at a time in the decade when this type of increase is necessary for adequate preparations.
The CFCA would adjust discretionary spending limits on current and future budgets in order to allow more money to be allocated to the 2020 decennial census without causing mandatory cuts for other critical government programs.
The decennial census has historically undercounted communities of color, low-income Americans in both urban and rural areas, and immigrant communities. The 2010 Census failed to count more than 1.5 million Americans of color, including over 2 percent of Black Americans and 1.5 percent of Latino Americans.
“The importance of accurate and truly representative census data cannot be overstated: census data affects everything from how votes are counted and congressional districts are drawn to what kind of support communities receive from the federal government in everything from health to education. And that is why it is so important that all communities are counted equally—something we know hasn’t happened in past censuses when communities of color and low income communities have gone undercounted,” said Senator Booker. “Accurate census data is a critical tool in protecting civil rights, expanding economic opportunity and ensuring democratic representation. Our bill will correct the Trump Administration’s decision to inadequately fund this critical agency at a time when accurate Census data is more important than ever before.”
“Mandated by the Constitution, the Census is a cornerstone of our democracy,” said Senator Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “It should be not underfunded or politicized.”