Rep. Maloney Thanks Reps. Boehner and Issa for Praise of her Independent Census Bureau bill
"I’m grateful that House Republicans see the value of making the Census Bureau an independent scientific body similar to NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Science Foundation,” Maloney said. “I assume they’ll be adding their names as cosponsors to my bill when it is reintroduced shortly.” .
Yesterday, when House Republicans’ praise first surfaced, Rep. Maloney issued this statement:
“I'm proud to finally be working with a President who is reaching out in a bipartisan fashion, from his efforts to gain Republican support for the stimulus bill to his nomination of Sen. Gregg as Commerce Secretary. Sadly, the House Republicans' answer is to have a press conference and create a tempest over the Census Bureau, even before the President has had a chance to unpack his bags. I'm glad to see they now like my bill to make the Bureau an independent agency; I hope that means they'll sign on as cosponsors.”
The AP story quoted the White House confirming that nothing has changed in lines of authority:
"As they have in the past, White House senior management will work closely with the census director given the number of decisions that will need to reach the president's desk," said the statement from White House spokesman Benjamin LaBolt. "This administration has not proposed removing the census from the Department of Commerce and the same congressional committees that had oversight during the previous administration will retain that authority."
Rep. Maloney concluded, “The Census should be nonpartisan, fair, and complete, and managed by experienced professionals with an adequate budget and staff. I’ll be delighted to move forward with Reps. Boehner and Issa’s support in the days ahead.”
Background: Mrs. Maloney's bill to create an independent agency for the Census in the last Congress was HR 7069, “Restoring the Integrity of American Statistics Act of 2008.” Nearly every economic statistic reported in the news and relied upon by Americans is derived from data collected day in and day out by career professionals at the Census Bureau. Maloney plans to reintroduce her bill in the 111th Congress in the next few days.
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Here is text of Rep. Maloney’s letter to Republican members participating in today’s press event:
February 12, 2009
Dear Republican Colleague,
I am flattered by the kind and positive words you have had for my legislation for an independent census I introduced last fall, H.R. 7069, the Restoring the Integrity of American Statistics Act. This legislation would elevate the Census Bureau to the status of an independent agency and require that the Census Director be appointed by the President for a five-year term. I am planning to reintroduce this bill for the new congress in the next few days and hope that your kind words mean you will be joining me in cosponsoring it in the new session.
I would be happy to talk to you directly, or you can let my staff know that I can add you to the bill.
CAROLYN B. MALONEY
Member of Congress
Here is text of a letter supporting Rep. Maloney’s bill from seven former Census Bureau Directors:
To: Carolyn Maloney, Member of the House of Representatives
Vincent P. Barabba (1973-76 and 1979-81)*
Bruce Chapman (1981-1983)
John G. Keane (1984 – 1987)
Barbara Everitt Bryant (1989 -1993)
Martha Farnsworth Riche (1994-1998)
Kenneth Prewitt (1998-2001)
Charles Louis Kincannon (2002 - 2008)
*Years of service as Director of the U. S. Census Bureau
The signatures to this Letter served as Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, appointed by Presidents Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, G. H. Bush, Bill Clinton, and G. W. Bush. Although appointed by different Presidents we are of one mind in our strong endorsement of the proposed legislation known as “Restoring the Integrity of American Statistics Act of 2008” that will establish the Census Bureau as an Independent Agency. We believe that this is an Act whose time has come, and that its enactment will ensure that the Census Bureau can discharge its constitutional obligation to conduct the Decennial Census and carry out other statistical operations – such as the Economic Census and the Census of Governments – that the Congress requires and the nation needs.
We offer three reasons for our endorsement. First, following three decades during which the press and the Congress frequently discussed the Decennial Census in explicitly partisan terms it is vitally important that the American public have confidence that the census results have been produced by an independent, non-partisan, apolitical, and scientific Census Bureau.”
Second, the Commerce Department is responsible for many activities and several very large agencies. For the Commerce Department, the importance of the Census Bureau waxes and wanes, peaking as the Decennial approaches but then drifting down the Department’s priority list. The Census Bureau, however, conducts extensive preparatory activities for the Decennial Census during the entire decade preceding it. It also has other major statistical responsibilities in the years that intervene between Decennial Censuses – including producing the nation’s ongoing economic monitoring measures. As an Independent Agency it will more efficiently focus on these continuous responsibilities.
Third, as Directors each of us experienced times when we could have made much more timely and thorough responses to Congressional requests and oversight if we had dealt directly with the Congress.
The Census Bureau is the nation’s largest, general-purpose statistical agency. Establishing it as an Independent Agency, in the government’s highly decentralized system of statistical programs, will be broadly beneficial to other statistical agencies and programs in emphasizing that the nation’s statistical products are scientific and independent of partisan considerations. This is a valuable signal for the American public in a time of economic uncertainty and the corresponding high level of dependence on the numbers generated by the federal statistical system.
We congratulate you and your colleagues for initiating the Bill, and offer our services in any way that you might find useful.