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Thompson Leaves Census Bureau; Acting Director Named

On June 30, John Thompson officially resigned as Director of the Census Bureau, after unexpectedly announcing his planned departure in May. Effective July 1, Ron Jarmin will become Acting Director of the Bureau. Jarmin has been with the Census Bureau since 1992 and currently serves as Associate Director for Economic Programs. Enrique Lamas, Associate Director for Demographic Programs, will serve as Acting Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer, a position that has been vacant for several months. In addition, the Department of Commerce announced that Secretary Wilbur Ross has hired Arnold Jackson as a consultant. Jackson oversaw the 2010 Census as Associate Director for the Decennial Census.

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Posted in Issue 14 (July 11), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Census Bureau Director Resigns, Complicating Outlook for 2020 Decennial

On May 9, John Thompson announced his plans to step down as Director of the Census Bureau effective June 30. Thompson’s resignation comes at a critical time for the Bureau as it ramps up its activities ahead of the 2020 Census and continues to face periodic threats to the American Community Survey. So far, no details have emerged about a potential replacement. The Deputy Director position at the Bureau has been vacant since Nancy Potok left to become Chief Statistician of the United States in January.

No reason was given for Thompson’s departure in the middle of a year-long extension to his term (which had expired at the end of 2016).The week before this announcement, Thompson appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies for an oversight hearing on the 2020 Census. Chairman John Culberson (R-TX) had several sharp questions for the Director on projected cost overruns on IT systems for the decennial census, the government’s largest non-military undertaking. Culberson also expressed concern about the American Community Survey, calling it “intrusive.”

The next director will have to contend with a funding climate in which investment in the Bureau, which typically increases significantly in the years leading up to a decennial census, has fallen well below similar points in the cycle, with a fairly small increase passed for fiscal year (FY) 2017 and nearly flat funding proposed by the Administration for FY 2018. Without adequate investment, the task of conducting a fair and accurate 2020 Census will become increasingly challenging—and more expensive down the line.

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Posted in Issue 10 (May 16), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Testimony Calls for Increased Funding for NSF, NIJ, Census, and Other Agencies

On April 21, COSSA submitted testimony to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The testimony calls for increased funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the Census Bureau. You can read this and other statements on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 9 (May 2), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Calls for Congress to Complete FY 2017 Appropriations Process

In a letter to House and Senate appropriators on the Commerce, Justice, Science (CJS) Subcommittees, COSSA called for speedy completion of the FY 2017 appropriations process. The letter also urges strong appropriations for the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and Census Bureau. The letter is available on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 5 (March 7), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

Census Bureau Establishes 2020 Advisory Committee, Calls for Nominations

The Census Bureau announced the establishment of a Census Bureau 2020 Advisory Committee, which will provide expertise and advice to Bureau leadership on matters related to the planning and implementation of the 2020 decennial census. The Bureau is seeking nominations to fill the 25-member Committee, particularly candidates with expertise related to “diverse populations; national, state, local and tribal interest; hard-to-count populations; research; community-based organizations; academia; business interests; marketing and media industries; and professional associations.” More information is available in the Federal Register notice. Nominations must be submitted by January 19, 2017.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 10), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

COSSA Letter to Conferees Advocates Funding for NSF, NIJ, BJS, and Census

As Congress returns to complete the business of funding the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2017, COSSA is advocating for strong funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and Census Bureau. In a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS), COSSA highlights the important work of these agencies and asks that conferees support the “highest possible funding levels.” The full letter is available on the COSSA website. COSSA has weighed-in in support of other federal agency budgets through our many coalition efforts.

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Posted in Issue 22 (November 15), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

COSSA and Coalitions Urge Strong Funding for SBS in Final FY 2017 Funding Negotiations

In preparation for Congress’ return to Washington after the election, several of the coalitions COSSA works through have sent letters to appropriators urging them to pass funding bills rather than a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the government for the remainder of fiscal year (FY) 2017 and to encourage them to preserve funding for the agencies that support social and behavioral science (SBS), including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (Senate letter, House letter), the National Center for Health Statistics (Senate letter, House letter), the Census Bureau (Senate letter, House letter), and the Institute of Education Sciences.

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Posted in Issue 21 (November 1), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

State of Play: FY 2017 Funding for Social Science Research

Congress has adjourned for a seven-week recess and will not be returning to work until after Labor Day. Despite promises for a return to “regular order” in the annual appropriations process, we find ourselves in familiar territory with none of the 12 annual spending bills expected to be enacted into law before the new fiscal year begins October 1. In fact, none of the bills that fund research agencies and programs (the Commerce, Justice Science bill and the Labor, HHS, Education bill) have yet to make it to the House or Senate floors for debate.

Upon returning to work in September, Congress will be faced with a full plate of must-pass legislation and a limited number of days before breaking again for the fall elections. Among the countless unknowns surrounding a possible endgame strategy for appropriations is one certainty – the need to pass a stopgap funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR), to avoid a government shutdown come October 1. The length of the impending CR, though, is still up for debate. Scenarios range from a CR of a couple of months with final action completed in the December timeframe (forcing a lame duck session of Congress after the November elections), to a six-month-long CR that would delay action until after the new Administration and Congress are sworn in, to possibly a year-long continuing resolution that would fund agencies at the FY 2016 level through the end of next fiscal year. These details will need to be sorted out over the next several weeks, and consensus remains far-off. However, all parties appear equally committed to avoiding a government shutdown.

COSSA has been reporting on the status of the FY 2017 appropriations bills over the last several months. Read on for a recap of progress made to date as it relates to social and behavioral science research. Congress will pick up where it left off when Members return to work in September. Full details on the various bills considered so far can be viewed on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 15 (July 26), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

Census Scientific Advisory Committee Seeks Nominations

The Census Bureau has issued a call for nominations for membership to the Census Scientific Advisory Committee. This committee advises the Director of the Census Bureau on statistical data collection, statistical analysis, econometrics, cognitive psychology, and a variety of other scientific areas pertaining to Census Bureau programs and activities. According to the notice in the Federal Register, “Nominees must have scientific and technical expertise in such areas as demography, economics, geography, psychology, statistics, survey methodology, social and behavioral sciences, Information Technology, computing, or marketing.” The deadline for applications is July 15, 2016. More information is available in the Federal Register.

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Posted in Issue 13 (June 28), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

House Bill Includes Flat Funding for NSF, Boosts for NIJ, BJS, and Census

On May 24, the House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year (FY) 2017 Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations Bill. This bill serves as the vehicle for annual appropriations for the National Science Foundation (NSF), Census Bureau, National Institute of Justice (NIJ), Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), and countless other federal departments and agencies. The Senate Appropriations Committee advanced its version of the CJS bill on April 21.

The House bill would provide NSF with a total budget of $7.4 billion in FY 2017, slightly below the FY 2016 level of $7.46 billion. Most notably, the bill does not include language targeting social science accounts for cuts, as we saw last year. In addition, the House bill would provide NIJ and BJS with $40 million (+11%) and $48 billion (+17%), respectively, and $1.47 billion for the Census Bureau, an increase of 7.3 percent over the FY 2016 level, but 10 percent below the amount requested by the President.

Read on for COSSA’s full analysis.

You can keep up-to-date on the status of FY 2017 funding for social science research agencies on the COSSA website.

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Posted in Issue 11 (May 31), Update, Volume 35 (2016)

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