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Commerce Secretary: Census Bureau Needs Billions Before 2020

Image: Commerce Secretary: Census Bureau Needs Billions Before 2020

By    |   Thursday, 12 Oct 2017 03:04 PM

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross informed the House Oversight Committee Thursday that the Census Bureau will need $3.3 billion more than previously estimated for 2020.

Ross said that another $187 million for the 2018 fiscal year would provide much needed technological improvements for the upcoming census.

"We believe the 187 [million] will cover us through the fiscal year 2018, we're reasonably comfortable with that," Ross told Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., the ranking member of the committee, according to the Washington Examiner. "The bigger risk comes after 2018 because that's when 80-plus percent of the money will be spent."

"Some people will argue that the census was supposed to save billions of dollars this time around by using new IT innovations to reduce the number of workers it needs to hire and increase the number of people who submit their forms online," said Cummings at the start of the hearing. "The problem is when you starve the Census Bureau year after year after year, it cannot make the investments needed to implement these innovations."

Ross said a few minutes later, "on the whole, we found the prior administration provided Congress and the public with overly optimistic assessments of both the ease of implementing new technologies and the cost savings they would provide."

Former Census Bureau director John Thompson told The Washington Post this week that "Had we been funded to do everything we asked for, then we’d be much farther ahead. At this point, they’re going to have to go back and do some of it the old way . . . with paper and pencil. That’s not bad in terms of accuracy, but it does mean it’s going to cost more."

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Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross informed the House Oversight Committee Thursday that the Census Bureau will need $3.3 billion more than previously estimated for 2020.
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2017-04-12
Thursday, 12 Oct 2017 03:04 PM
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