Thompson Schedules Hearing on Census 2000

Washington, DC – Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN), Chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, today announced the Committee will hold a public hearing on the status of preparations for the planned 2000 census. The hearing on “Observations on the Census Dress Rehearsal and Implications for Census 2000” will be held on Thursday, July 30 at 10:00 a.m. in Room 342, Dirksen Senate Office Building.

“Our founding fathers established the constitutional requirement to count our nation’s residents every ten years,” said Thompson. “It is our obligation to ensure that the Constitution is faithfully implemented and the census is managed properly so the American people do not end up wasting $4 billion on an inaccurate count.”

The census is used to allocate seats in Congress and distribute billions of dollars to States and communities. New businesses, schools and roads all depend on accurate census data. Presently, the Census Bureau is in the process of conducting a “dress rehearsal” of procedures and practices to be used in 2000. However, a March 1998 General Accounting Office (GAO) report indicates that Census 2000 faces an alarming array of difficulties. The GAO is now monitoring the dress rehearsal sites and observing census-taking operations first-hand. J. Christopher Mihm, Associate Director, Federal Management and Workforce Issues, General Government Division of GAO will testify before the Committee on how well the dress rehearsal is progressing and assess any implications and lessons learned for 2000.

“The Administration asserts that this dry run for Census 2000 has been an overwhelming success,” Thompson said. “But that’s not what we are hearing from GAO. I am concerned the census is buckling under the weight of management and implementation problems that could spell disaster in 2000.”