Senate should up 2006 e-gov, Census funding: White House

Senate plans to reduce requested Census Bureau 2006 funding would suspend the American Community Survey and increase the cost of the next decennial census, the White House said in a Statement of Administration Policy.

The bureau’s American Community Survey is a new short-form nationwide survey that will replace the long paper form that citizens have had to complete for previous censuses.

Funding for the Commerce Department as a whole was more than $1.1 billion greater than President Bush’s request. The administration said it was opposed to the overall funding level in the Senate-reported Commerce, Justice and Science appropriations bill.

Senate funding for Census would be $725.4 million, which is $150 million, or 17 percent, below the administration budget request and $17.4 million lower than last year’s appropriation.

“Timely and accurate Census data are necessary for decision-makers at every level of government for budgetary and planning purposes, and in recovery efforts for crisis situations,” said the SAP, which comes out of the Office of Management and Budget.

The administration also urged the Senate to fund the President’s E-Government Initiatives. “The Senate bill contradicts current statutory requirements for the executive branch to reduce duplication and increase efficiency in government-wide IT investments,” the SAP said.

The bill also creates unnecessary executive branch management challenges and denies savings for taxpayers, the administration said. The bill provides no funds for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to contribute to Commerce-wide e-government activities and exempts the International Trade Administration from guidance that promotes cost recovery.

In other parts of the bill, the SAP said the departmental management account at Commerce is insufficient to absorb the cost of its technology administration. The president requested $53.5 million, but the Senate recommended $49.6 million, which was still $2.1 million more than last year’s appropriation.

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