Crowley Applauds House Passage of Funding for COPS, Census H.R. 2847 appropriates funding for Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies

Jun 18, 2009

(Washington, D.C.) Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-the Bronx, Queens) applauded tonight’s passage of the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 (H.R. 2847).  Included within the bill were provisions of significant importance to the Bronx and Queens, including funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), critical Federal resources for the upcoming census count and a reaffirmation of the commitment to create a grant program for Undergraduate education at Hispanic Serving Institutions.  The bill passed by a vote of 259 to 157, and now goes to the Senate for consideration. 

Congressman Crowley submitted this statement for the record during consideration of the bill:

"Madame Speaker, I rise in support of H.R 2847, the Commerce, Justice Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2010.
 
"The Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill makes investments that are important to hard-working families and vital to the well-being of local communities. It keeps cops on the beat, helps small and mid-size companies remain competitive in the global economy, and provides legal assistance to those unable to afford it.  It also funds the census, and this year’s bill includes $7.4 billion in funding for the U.S. Census Bureau, matching the President’s request.  

"Every decade, we recount our nation’s population.  The Commerce Department oversees this massive effort, and it is gearing up for the 2010 recount.  The importance of the census cannot be overstated. 

"The census is not just a head count of our population, but a snap shot of how Americans are living, including their family relationships, economic status and much more.  The data collected is incredibly important because it is used to help dictate how federal and state money is appropriated for health, education and transportation initiatives; to guide local planning decisions, such as where to build schools and roads; and to determine private business investments, such as where to locate a company or expand business. 

"There are, however, many challenges in conducting the census and 2010 will be even more difficult than in years past.  Population growth means there are more people to count and more homes to visit.  Furthermore, among immigrant and non-English speaking populations, there are fears of deportation, language barriers, and mistrust of government, which have left many areas of our country under counted in the past.  

"We cannot let the past repeat itself.  We have an obligation to our constituents to ensure they are counted in 2010.  And, the $7.4 billion in this bill for the U.S. Census Bureau will be used, in part, to raise awareness of the upcoming census, educate individuals on the importance of their participation, and teach people about the benefits that will come to their community as a result of their participation.

"We must inform them that census workers are legally prohibited from reporting a resident’s legal status.  We must inform them that for the first time a bilingual form will be sent to neighborhoods with large Spanish speaking populations and, as before, the form will be available in other major languages.  We must inform them that their participation will only serve to help them and their community.

"In the 2000 census, many members of immigrant and minority groups did not fill out the form – skewing the results and costing their communities federal funds.  Many of these communities are the ones in greatest need of housing, education and legal services.  We need to let our constituents know what is at stake so they will take the time to engage and participate.

"Standing up and being counted is not only a constitutional requirement, but an American tradition. It illustrates the size and diversity of the United States of America in the 21st century. That is why I hope all of my colleagues will work in their districts to ensure that we have the highest participation than any other census before.  And, it is why I hope my colleagues will support the money in this bill for the 2010 census.