PAA Members Heed the Call to Action: Federal Funding and Census Citizenship Question

By PAA Web posted 29 days ago


U.S. Capitol at night

In May 2024, the Population Association of America (PAA) Office of Government and Public Affairs released back-to-back action alerts on issues of interest to the population research community before the U.S. House of Representatives. PAA members were very responsive, resulting in hundreds of communications being sent to Members of Congress. Below is a status report regarding these efforts and next steps. 

Fiscal Year 2025 “Dear Colleague” Funding Letters

Fiscal Year 2025 deliberations are underway in the United States Congress. Currently, Members of Congress who serve on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are receiving input from their colleagues regarding spending priorities they want to see emerge in the 12 bills that the committees will draft this summer. These bills will propose funding for all Federal government agencies in the next fiscal year, which begins October 1, 2024.

To garner support for specific spending priorities, members of Congress often circulate “Dear Colleague” letters. These letters are an effective tool that congressional champions use to generate and communicate support to the leaders of House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees responsible for funding certain Federal programs and agencies. 

PAA issued an action alert to encourage members of the U.S. House of Representatives to sign “Dear Colleague” letters in support of funding the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Census Bureau, and National Center for Health Statistics. These letters have closed and been sent to the leaders of the relevant House Appropriations Subcommittees. Links to the letters are provided below. 

PAA appreciates those members of Congress who not only sponsored these letters, but also those members who signed and expressed their support for these critically important Federal scientific research and statistical agencies in Fiscal Year 2025. 

The PAA Office of Government and Public Affairs will keep PAA members apprised of developments as the FY 2025 appropriations process proceeds. 

H.R. 7109, Equal Representation Act

On May 8 , the U.S. House of Representatives passed on a party-line vote (206-202), H.R. 7109, the Equal Representation Act. The bill would add an untested citizenship question on the decennial census and exclude noncitizens from the number of persons used to determine congressional apportionment. 
The Population Association of America joined other scientific advocacy and census stakeholder organization groups in opposing this bill for several reasons: 1) it threatens the quality and accuracy of decennial census data; 2) undermines census data by overruling the objective review process that Census Bureau uses for determining the content of the decennial census questionnaire; and, 3) excludes whole segments of the population from the enumeration--a clear violation of the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The White House issued a Statement of Administration Policy strongly opposing the bill. 
The bill has been sent to the U.S. Senate for that chamber’s consideration. On May 16, Senator Hagerty (R-TN) asked for unanimous consent to bring the bill to the Senate floor—a proposal that was blocked by Senator Schatz (D-HI). 
The PAA Office of Government and Public Affairs will monitor further action on H.R. 7109, whether it moves as a separate bill or is offered as an amendment during debate on the Fiscal Year 2025 Commerce, Science, Justice Appropriations bill, which funds the Census Bureau.