Sen. Carper Statement on the 2010 Census Results

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE), chairman of the Senate subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Census, released the following statement in response to the 2010 Census results:


“Today’s Census results are welcomed news, particularly given the many challenges that were overcome to ensure a successful 2010 Census.  I want to offer my congratulations to Census Director Dr. Robert Groves and his entire team for their efforts on the completion of the 2010 Census. Under Dr. Groves’ leadership, the Census came in on track and under budget. It’s not every day that we hear of a government agency returning over a billion dollars to the Federal Treasury, and that achievement should be recognized and applauded.


“With today’s Census results, I hope we can use that data to properly plan and move forward over the next decade. While the Census provides us with important governance information, like redrawing both Congressional and legislative districts, it also gives us the vital information that helps communities figure out how much funding a hospital or local school needs or if there need to be more public transportation options. 


“As the 2010 Census results as analyzed and applied, we can’t rest on our laurels.  Already, critical planning is underway for the 2020 Census and I am hopeful that we can implement many of the lessons we learned from this year’s Decennial Census and use that information to improve our efforts for 2020.  Our goal for 2020 should be to make sure it is the most accurate and complete census in history.”  


“One way we can make the 2020 Census the most accurate and complete one in history is to pass legislation that would bring needed reform to how we pick and choose census directors and oversee the bureau’s internal workings. The Census Oversight, Efficiency and Management Reform Act, legislation I co-authored with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Charlie Dent (R-PA), would take presidential politics out of the inner-workings of the Census by making directors serve a five-year term, meaning there will be more continuity when a new administration takes over. It would also strengthen Congressional oversight of the Census to prevent operational problems that have emerged on the eve of the last four Censuses.  


“This bill passed the Senate unanimously earlier this month, but it failed to pass the House just last week.  When one Census ends, another begins. If we want to make sure the Census is as perfect as we can make it, we need to pass common-sense Census reform sooner rather than later.”  


Sen. Carper’s bill, the Census Oversight, Efficiency and Management Reform Act would ensure that the Census Bureau enjoys the independence of governance that will best enable it to perform its essential function in the following ways:


o   Makes the Director of the Census Bureau a presidential term appointment of five years, with the 10-year decennial cycle split into two, five-year phases – planning and operational, creating continuity across administrations.


o   Gives the Director the independence to report directly to the Secretary of Commerce without being required to report through any other official at the Commerce Department.


o   Requires the Director to submit to Congress a comprehensive annual report on the next decennial census, with a description of the Bureau’s performance standards and a risk-assessment of each significant decennial operation.


o   Requires the Bureau to test, develop, and implement an option for internet response to the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey.  


The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent on Dec. 8, but failed under suspension in the House on Dec. 14.