House Republicans vote to kill Census program crucial for RIMay 22nd, 2012 at 5:00 am by Ted Nesi under Nesi's Notes, On the Main Site
Perhaps that’s a little harsh. But a little-noticed vote taken last week by the U.S. House of Representatives would eliminate a crucial source of information about our state and its 1 million inhabitants.
House Republicans voted to cut off funding for what’s known as the American Community Survey, a yearly U.S. Census Bureau survey of 3 million Americans which “generates data that help determine how more than $400 billion in federal and state funds are distributed each year.”
Why does this matter to Rhode Island? “Without the ACS,” Washington City Paper’s Shani Hilton explains, ”states like North Dakota and Rhode Island – and non-states like our dear District [of Columbia] – would have to rely on the (less detailed) data that comes out every 10 years from the decennial U.S. Census.”
“It’s hard to comprehend why Republicans in Congress would want to defund a program that could promote long-term economic growth and help create jobs,” Congressman David Cicilline told WPRI.com. “But we’ve seen these tactics before. The latest House Republican attempt to defund the ACS demonstrates that they have no real plan to put our economy back on the right track and are instead relying on cheap political stunts.”
Rob Coupe, a spokesman for Cicilline’s Republican challenger Brendan Doherty, downplayed the issue’s importance.
“Brendan is hearing consistently from residents of the 1st Congressional District that they are concerned about Rhode Island’s economy and the need for job opportunities,” Couple told WPRI.com. “The Doherty for Congress campaign is focused on discussing Brendan’s leadership and initiatives to restore our economy and bring secure jobs to our state and Brendan is not focusing on issues such as the Community Survey at this time.”
While the vote to end the ACS was partisan, the outcry against the vote hasn’t been.
Anchor Rising’s Andrew Morse and the Ocean State Current’s Justin Katz both tweeted their dismay about the move. Michael Mandel explained why it’s bad for the economy. Josh Barro, no wild-eyed liberal, explained why it’s also bad for federalism. Even The Wall Street Journal editorial page thinks it’s a bad idea.