New York Times (May 31, 2010)
When a bipartisan group of House and Senate lawmakers introduced a bill this year to improve the census, passage seemed inevitable. With the 2010 count under way, people were paying attention. And the bill, which grants the Census Bureau director more independence, is a smart response to the chronic problems that have plagued census planning: fragmented leadership, political interference and not enough financing.
The Obama administration, which should be supporting the bill, is instead raising objections. It has objected to a provision that would allow the census director to report directly to the commerce secretary. It also has objected to a provision that would require the director to send Congress the bureau's budget request at the same time it goes to the White House.
The commerce secretary, Gary Locke, lodged the objections with one of the bill's co-sponsors, Senator Thomas Carper, a Democrat of Delaware, a day before the committee on the census met in April to consider the legislation. The committee approved it anyway. But if the administration continues to fight, the reform effort could stall.