Text: H.Con.Res.136 — 112th Congress (2011-2012)

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Introduced in House (08/02/2012)

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[Congressional Bills 112th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Con. Res. 136 Introduced in House (IH)]

  2d Session
H. CON. RES. 136

   Expressing the sense of Congress that the census surveys and the 
  information derived from those surveys are crucial to the national 



                             August 2, 2012

Mrs. Maloney (for herself, Mr. Honda, Ms. Chu, Mr. Ellison, Mr. Olver, 
 Ms. McCollum, Mr. Serrano, Ms. Richardson, Mr. Blumenauer, Mr. Stark, 
  Mr. Lewis of Georgia, Mr. Frank of Massachusetts, and Mr. Grijalva) 
 submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to 
            the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


                         CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

   Expressing the sense of Congress that the census surveys and the 
  information derived from those surveys are crucial to the national 

Whereas the American Community Survey (referred to in this preamble as the 
        ``ACS'') was launched in 2005 during the Administration of President 
        George W. Bush and has since been funded by Congress as an innovation 
        that the Bureau of the Census has been able to use in place of the 
        decennial census long form;
Whereas the ACS provides the United States, States, counties, cities, towns, 
        neighborhoods, and other areas with annual data that was formerly 
        available only once every 10 years;
Whereas the Federal Government relies on the ACS--

    (1) to produce annual population estimates for the United States, 
States, metropolitan areas, counties, cities, and other areas;

    (2) to produce annual measures of total personal income and per capita 
income for the United States, States, metropolitan areas, and counties;

    (3) to define metropolitan areas;

    (4) to determine compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 
U.S.C. 1973 et seq.); and

    (5) to fairly distribute more than $450,000,000,000 in Federal domestic 
assistance to States and other areas, including through the setting of the 
formulas for Federal reimbursement to States for Medicaid expenditures;

Whereas the ACS is the only source of rural and small-area economic and 
        demographic data of sufficient reliability to allow entrepreneurs, 
        business owners, and local government planners, among others, to make 
        informed decisions on where to invest, build, create jobs, and maintain 
        or improve infrastructure;
Whereas Congress requires the information collected through the ACS in order to 
        provide adequate oversight of a substantial number of executive 
        departments, agencies, and programs;
Whereas the citizens of the United States require the information collected 
        through the ACS for each State and congressional district in order to 
        hold their Members of Congress accountable;
Whereas, since the founding of the United States, Congress has recognized the 
        value and mandated the use of the decennial census as a means to gather 
        information that informs public policy and measures the progress of the 
        United States;
Whereas the congressional tradition of the decennial census was initiated by the 
        efforts of United States Representative James Madison, the ``Father of 
        the Constitution'', who argued on the floor of the House of 
        Representatives that Congress, in considering the Act entitled ``An Act 
        providing for the enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States'' 
        (commonly known as the ``Census Act of 1790''; 1 Stat. 101, chapter 2), 
        ``had now an opportunity of obtaining the most useful information for 
        those who should hereafter be called upon to legislate for their country 
        if this bill was extended so as to embrace some other objects besides 
        the bare enumeration of the inhabitants; it would enable them to adapt 
        the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community. In 
        order to know the various interests of the United States, it was 
        necessary that the description of the several classes into which the 
        community was divided, should be accurately known; on this knowledge the 
        legislature might proceed to make a proper provision for the 
        agricultural, commercial and manufacturing interests . . . in due 
Whereas Representative James Madison also said, ``This kind of information all 
        legislatures had wished for; but this kind of information had never been 
        obtained in any country''; that he wished, therefore, ``to avail himself 
        of the present opportunity of accomplishing so valuable a purpose''; and 
        ``[i]f the plan was pursued in taking every future census, it would give 
        [Congress] an opportunity of marking the progress of the society, and 
        distinguishing the growth of every interest.'';
Whereas Vice President Thomas Jefferson, the ``Father of the Declaration of 
        Independence'', wrote Congress as president of the American 
        Philosophical Society that the consideration by Congress of the Act 
        entitled ``An Act providing for the second Census or enumeration of the 
        Inhabitants of the United States'' (commonly known as the ``Census Act 
        of 1800''; 2 Stat. 11, chapter 12) offered ``an occasion of great value, 
        and not otherwise to be obtained, of ascertaining sundry facts highly 
        important to society . . . [and] presenting a more detailed view of the 
        inhabitants of the United States, under several different aspects,'' 
        including age (so as to be able to measure life expectancy), citizenship 
        (so as to be able to determine the relative contributions of births and 
        immigration to population growth), and the occupation of free males (so 
        as to be able ``to ascertain more completely the causes which influence 
        life and health, and furnish a curious and useful document of the 
        distribution of society in these States, and of the conditions and 
        vocations of our fellow-citizens . . .'');
Whereas diverse presidents throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, such as John 
        Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, William McKinley, Herbert Hoover, and 
        Franklin Roosevelt, asked for and received from Congress permission to 
        expand the scope of census questions unrelated to enumeration;
Whereas the Economic Census is required by law to be conducted every 5 years, 
        provides the most authoritative and comprehensive data about United 
        States businesses, and provides the foundation for key economic 
        indicators, such as the gross domestic product;
Whereas, in response to the recommendations of the Intensive Review Committee 
        (also known as the ``Watkins Commission''), Congress enacted the 
        recommendations into law in 1954, thereby providing for quinquennial 
        censuses of manufacturing, mineral industries, and other businesses;
Whereas the finding of the Watkins Commission that ``[w]ithout these census 
        records, it would not be possible to construct or interpret this system 
        of economic indicators. Business executives, farmers, labor leaders, 
        professional men, scholars, scientists, government officials, and 
        administrators in all phases of our society are dependent on census 
        records or on economic indicators based on census records.'' is as true 
        today as it was in 1954;
Whereas the Economic Census--

    (1) provides the foundation for key annual, quarterly, and monthly 
Federal economic indicators, including the gross domestic product, 
industrial production, labor productivity, manufacturing and services 
industry activity, producer price indices, research and development 
expenditures, commodity flows, and employer-sponsored health insurance 

    (2) provides the basis for Federal macroeconomic and budget 
projections; and

    (3) informs Federal trade, competitiveness, and entrepreneurship 

Whereas single firms rely on the Economic Census to compare their operations to 
        industry averages, identify markets, and inform decisions on business 
        location, capital investment, product research and development, and 
        marketing strategies;
Whereas the information collected through the Economic Census affords the 
        private and public sectors the ability to make good decisions and use 
        resources in a way such that the entire country is more efficient and 
        better able to compete in the world economy, thereby allowing the United 
        States to maintain a high standard of living;
Whereas what is today called the Economic Census began as the ``census of 
        manufactures'' in 1810;
Whereas the census of manufactures (as well as the census of agriculture) became 
        a regular feature of census taking in 1840 and has remained such ever 
Whereas household and business responses to census surveys allow national, 
        State, and local officials to make informed decisions, just as James 
        Madison envisioned, providing timely and accurate statistics even for 
        small localities;
Whereas, historically, Congress has followed the precedent set by all previous 
        Congresses in supporting and directing the collection of a range of 
        information in the ACS and the Economic Census to guide its own 
        deliberations and consideration of policies;
Whereas Federal courts have consistently upheld the constitutionality of 
        including questions unrelated to enumeration in the decennial census and 
        requiring answers to such questions; and
Whereas Congress has mandated and the Department of Commerce has successfully 
        implemented strict protection of the confidentiality of responses: Now, 
        therefore, be it
    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), 
That Congress--
            (1) encourages the people of the United States to fulfill 
        their civic duty and follow the law by responding to all census 
        surveys conducted by the Bureau of the Census; and
            (2) strongly encourages the Bureau of the Census--
                    (A) to provide United States households and 
                businesses with information regarding the community, 
                economic, and fiscal benefits to be gained from 
                participation in the American Community Survey and the 
                Economic Census;
                    (B) to use the most current methodologies and 
                technologies to reduce any burden of responding to the 
                American Community Survey and the Economic Census; and
                    (C) to continue, as the Bureau of the Census has 
                done throughout its history, to innovate its methods, 
                processes, and products, and thus maintain the world-
                class standards that have made the Bureau of the Census 
                an international leader among statistical agencies.