Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bill dealing with Census Bureau Director's position offered

Today, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs marked up S. 3167, Census Oversight Efficiency and Management Reform Act of 2010. The bill was introduced by Senators Carper (D-DE) and Coburn (R-OK) both members of the Committee. More information about the bill, as introduced, is available here.

This is the bill that would change the Census Bureau Director's position to a five-year term instead of the current at-will appointment.

Key Provisions of the Legislation Include:

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

Increases the independence of the Director by allowing the Director to submit his or her own opinion in testimony to Congress even if it differs from the administration.

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.

Gives the Director authority over all personnel and activities in the exercise of all powers and duties of the Bureau.

Gives the Director the authority to establish advisory committees to provide advice with respect to any function of the Director.

Requires that the Census Director provide budget information to Congress, at the time the Director submits a budget request to the Commerce Secretary to be included in the President's budget request, prior to the Commerce Department's budget request submission to OMB, increasing transparency and oversight.

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.

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