Sen. Carper Urges President To Make Census A Priority


WASHINGTON – In a continued attempt to get the 2010 census back on track, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) this week sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging the prompt nomination of a new Commerce Secretary and Census Director.


Sen. Carper asked President Obama to make the upcoming census a priority of this administration and highlighted the gravity of the challenges facing the 2010 Census, including cost overruns and a lack of leadership, as explored in numerous hearings of his Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services and International Security.


Sen. Carper’s letter said: “Much preparation remains to be done in the coming months. Field tests of new technological systems to support the census count will begin in the spring of 2009. It is imperative that we work together to ensure that the Census Bureau has an integrated and comprehensive plan to control its costs and manage operations. The Bureau must also maintain diligent oversight of its contractors and strengthen its risk management activities.


"I trust that you understand the gravity of these emerging challenges. I urge you, then, to move quickly to fill the top leadership at the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau with individuals with the knowledge and the management skills necessary to get the ongoing preparations for the 2010 Census back on track for good."


The U.S. Constitution requires the federal government to conduct a census every 10 years. The data collected is used to determine federal assistance to states and to determine the makeup the federal government itself, including what areas are represented by 435 seats in the House of Representatives.