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FY21 Statistical Agency Budget Developments

By Steve Pierson posted 02-07-2020 14:12


The Trump Administration is expected to release its FY21 budget request on February 10, 2020. I will be filling in information as I become aware of it. This blog entry will track FY21 appropriations developments for the federal statistical agencies and so will be updated accordingly. (See update log below.) To receive notifications of updates, follow ASA Science Policy on Twitter: @ASA_SciPol. 

See also, FY21 NIH, NSF, and AHRQ Budget Developments; federal statistical agency budgets back to fiscal year 2003 (FY03)FY20 Budget Brings Increases for NIH, Select Statistical Agencies




     Agency     FY12    FY13    FY14    FY15   FY16   FY17  FY18   FY19   FY20   Request   %change vs. FY20   House   Senate   Final  %
BEA 92.2  89.8  95.4  96.3  105.1 103.8 99.0 101 108 111.9 3.6 111.9** 111.9 111.9 3.6
BJS 41.3  41.3  45  41 41  45.5 48.0 43 43 43 0 45** 45 45 4.7
BLS 609  577.2  592.2  592.2  609.0  609.0   612.0  615.0 6287 645.37 2.8 6427** 6287 642 2.2
BTS1 25  26  26  26  26 26 26 26 26 26 0 271 26 0
Census6 9422  859.32 945   1088  1370 1457 2814 3821 7558 1599.8 -78.8 1681.1* 1799.7 1106.6 -85
EIA 105  99.5  117  117  122 122  125 125 126.8 128.7 1.5 126.8** 126.8 126.8 0
ERS4 85.9  79.1  85.8  85.4  85.4 86.8 86.8 86.8 84.8 62.1 -26.8 86.7** 85.7 85.5 0.8
NASS4 167.8  175.8  170.4  172.4  168.4  171.2 191.7 174.5 180.3 174.5 -3.2 183.4** 184.4 183.9 2.0
NCES3 247  225.9  235.1  232 261  258.5   258.5 260.5 263.5 294.5 11.8 264.5** 275.4 276.5 4.9
NCSES 43.3  41.6 47   58.3  58.3 59.7 62.4 64.0 65.0 62.3 -4.2
NCHS5 159 153.8 155.4  155.4  160.4 160.4 160.4  160.4 160.48 1559 -3.4 160.49** 162.4 161.4 0.6
ORES 29  27.5  26.9 29  25.9  24 27 35.410 36.0 39.9 37.0 2.8
SOI 38.7  34.9 37.1  36.8 37.8  34.3 34.7 35.9 35.9 37.4 37.4 4.3


Levels in millions of dollars; Agency abbreviations listed below; NCES is for Statistics and Assessment (not NAGB or SLDS)
Latest Action: *Subcommittee mark-up; **Committee mark-up; ***Passed the Floor
&Not available because of lack of sufficient detail in summary, bill or conference report; 
NATD (or blank): No Action To Date
1The BTS is funded through the Highway Trust Fund with levels determined by the authorizing committees. Congress is currently working on a transportation bill. 
2The  FY12 and FY13 levels include funds from the Working Capital Fund (WCF), as mandated by Congress. These level may differ than what I report in the "final" column of the FY12 and FY13 columns of other blog entries.
3The NCES budget level includes both statistics and assessment, but not Salary and Expenses for years FY12-FY15. The levels do not include budget for National Assessment Governing Board. 
4ERS and NASS went through budget revisions in FY15. The FY12, FY13, and FY14 levels have been adjusted to be comparable to the FY15, FY16, FY17 and subsequent levels. The actual FY12, FY13, and FY14 levels for ERS and NASS are $78.2 M, $71.4 M, $78.1 M and $158.6 M, $166.6 M, and $161.2 M, respectively.  
5The NCHS budget went through an realignment from FY14 to FY15 to account for NCHS having to include business support services provided by the CDC. The comparable FY12, FY13, FY14 and FY15 levels are $138.7 million, 138.7, 140, and 140 respectively.
6The Census budget levels here omit about $30 million in mandatory funding.
7The FY20 final level for BLS includes $27 million for its relocation. This amount is not reflected in the $628 million to make it comparable with the FY19 and prior year funding levels. In addition, beyond the $645.3 level, the FY21 request level "Includes $13 million for costs associated with the BLS headquarters physical move, including replication of space, furniture, fixtures, and equipment, as well as relocation of the BLS data center to a shared facility." The House and Senate FY21 bills both have $13 million for the BLS move. Including the $13 million would bring the House and Senate levels to $655M and $641M, respectively
8The FY20 final level provides $50 million for "Public Health Data Surveillance/IT Systems Modernization", which is to include "innovation strategy for surveys conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics."
9The Administration is proposing the following: "Realignment of $14.0 million from Surveillance, Epidemiology and Informatics PPA within the Public Health Scientific Services (PHSS) account to Health Statistics in the PHSS account to support ongoing activities. These funds are used annually to fill critical gaps and the cost of data collection, as well as having a sufficient sample size to produce adequate public health data." As a result, in the CDC congressional justification for the FY21 budget, their levels are $14 million higher than shown here.
10The ORES went through a budget restructuring in FY19 when the Office of Retirement Policy (ORP) was merged into ORES. The FY18 ORP budget was $2.253M.
Because this blog entry covers everything from the budget request to the final determination of the budget, it can become quite long. To help with that, I'll try to partition the blog entry:

FY21 Budget Request Highlights
The following are excerpts and highlights. They are not in narrative form but are intended to provide you a quick snapshot. The notes also serve as a sort of note book for me for when I write a summary for Amstat News.

General points: 

    • Administration highlights economic statistics in FY21 budget synopsis, p. 29 "U.S. businesses deserve the most accurate statistical and scientific data to prosper in an increasingly competitive world, and look to DOC to enforce trade laws to ensure that trade is free, fair, and reciprocal. The Budget invests in these
      critical functions while cutting unnecessary programs that do not work for the American taxpayer. "     and
    • p. 31: "Improves the Delivery of America’s Economic Statistics. The President and the Administration are improving a once-stagnant economy with pro-growth policies, and the Nation’s economic data tells the story of this success. The Budget recognizes the importance of economic statistics for businesses and everyday citizens to make informed decisions and confidently invest in America’s future. Further, as part of the Administration’s commitment to deploying Government resources to the neediest communities more effectively, the Budget provides funding to improve poverty measurement in America.
      The Administration urges the Congress to favorably consider the Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century plan’s recommendation to consolidate within DOC critical economic statistics programs at the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Economic Analysis, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This consolidation would make agency operations more efficient, improve products, and reduce the burden on respondents, while preserving the Agencies’ brand recognition and independence. 
    • p. 73 in DOL section: "Improves the Delivery of America’s Economic Statistics. The Budget recognizes the importance of economic statistics to businesses and everyday citizens as they make informed decisions and confidently invest in America’s future. The Budget proposes investments in the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to better understand job-market changes in States and local areas and to improve poverty measurement, including the development of a consumption-based poverty measure. The Budget also continues to support moving the BLS to the Suitland Federal Center, which would save more than $300 million over the lifetime of the new lease."
  • Specific Agencies
    • ERS: From the Major Savings and Reforms document, p. 20: "The Budget proposes to streamline the Economic Research Service (ERS) while still supporting the Agency's core mission to develop the statistics needed to measure economic concepts in a dynamic farm and agricultural sector. The core mission of ERS is to inform and enhance public and private decision making on a broad range of economic and policy issues related to agriculture, food, natural resources, and rural America. ERS also provides statistical indicators that gauge the health of the farm sector. The Budget would continue to eliminate low priority research that is duplicative of research at land-grant universities, such as reports measuring subsidy programs funded through the Farm Bill, while still supporting ERS's core mission to develop the statistics needed to measure economic concepts in a dynamic farm and agricultural sector. For example, the funding level would continue to support high priority statistical reports, such as the Census of Agriculture and the Agricultural Resource Management Survey. " See also:
    • NCES: The DoED Congressional Justification includes these summary points for IES:
      • "Authorize the Secretary, rather than the President, to appoint members of the National Board for Education Sciences (the Board), consistent with the more efficient process for appointments to the National Assessment Governing Board (NAGB).
      • "Remove the requirement that IES support at least eight national research and development centers that address mandated topics of research. IES needs the flexibility to choose, in consultation with its Board and consistent with available resources, the research topics and evaluation strategies that best address evolving needs and current problems in the field.
      • "Create a National Center for Education Assessment (NCEA) within IES in recognition of the growth in the scale and importance of IES’s assessment activities since enactment of ESRA. The new NCEA would be headed by a Commissioner for Education Assessment and would be responsible for both the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and International Assessments, such as the Programme for International Student Assessment and Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study. In 2002, when IES was established, assessment activities represented a small portion of the budget. In the 2021 request, they represent over one-third of IES’s total budget. Creation of NCEA also would allow the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which currently administers these activities, to focus on its core statistical mission, including those activities outlined in the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2019.
      • "Authorize the Director of IES to appoint the commissioners for all of the IES Centers, as is now the practice for all Centers except for NCES, whose Commissioner is a Presidential appointee. 
      • "Repeal the authority for support of Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems under the Educational Technical Assistance Act of 2002. There is no longer a need for the system-building support for which this program was enacted as nearly all States now have such systems in place."
    • NCHS: see CDC congressional justification for the FY21 budget, p. 195. The administration also supports the Public Health Data Modernization Initiative, which Congress initiated in FY20 at a level of $50 million. For FY21, the administration proposes a level of $30 million: "CDC’s FY 2021 request includes $30.0 million to support the Public Health Data Modernization Initiative, a multiyear strategy transforming how CDC collects and uses data to drive action in real time—efficiently, flexibly, rapidly, and with enhanced impact. Investment in data modernization is needed to bring CDC and public health into the 21st century with shared platforms that support a networked set of systems that are interoperable, accessible, and provide data in way that supports timely action. CDC will modernize the public health data infrastructure through support to state and local health departments to move their data capacities toward the desired future state, as well as improving CDC’s own internal capacity to support advanced tools and capabilities. In addition, CDC will support strategic human capital and workforce development activities that enhance data science and informatics capabilities across the public health system. Finally, CDC will engage public health organizations, academic institutions and the private sector to accelerate and sustain progress in public health data modernization. As CDC continues to transform public health data, advancements will be seen as data analysis becomes more rapid, allowing public health professionals and policy makers to gain real-time insights. This foundation will then allow the public health community to look forward to enhanced predictive analytics that are oriented towards detecting threats prior to their emergence as full-blown health crises." It remain to be seen how NCHS will be engaged in this initiative. 
    • NCSES: mostly has "stay the course language"
    • EIA: p. 305
    • ORES: p. 84 of Nicely explains responsibilities of office without detailing any cuts or initiatives.
    • BEA:
      • BEA’s 2021 budget request includes inflationary adjustments of $4.330 million to fund increases for labor and non-labor activities, including service contracts, utilities and rent. BEA also received an increase of $0.250 million to fund the Chief Data Officer (CDO). In accordance with the Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018, the CDO will coordinate and oversee lifecycle data management at the Department, including leading the Commerce Data Governance Board, and ensure that the data and data service needs of Commerce’s bureaus are met. These increases are offset by $0.590 million in programmatic reductions.
    • BLS: 
      • In FY 2021, the BLS requests $658,318,000, and 1,977 FTE. The FY 2021 request includes $13,000,000 to remain available until September 30, 2024, for the remainder of the one-time costs associated with the physical move of the BLS headquarters for which BLS received partial funding in FY 2020. In addition, the BLS request for FY 2021 includes $7,100,000 to improve the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey by expanding the sample to produce sample-based state estimates and more detailed industry data for the nation as a whole, accelerating data review and the production of estimates, and adding focused questions to provide more information about job openings, hires, and separations; as well as $7,126,000 to research the nature and
        construction of a potential consumption-based poverty measure and improve the Consumer Expenditure program in support of improved poverty measurement. 
    • Census: 
      • Presumably for the administration priority, "Improves the Delivery of America’s Economic Statistics," the Census General Economic Statistics accounts see a requested increase of $4.3 million to $79.0 million. The language in that section of the Census Congressional Budget Justification includes the following language: 
        • The Census Bureau and BEA will continue working together to increase the accuracy and timeliness of a substantial number of key economic
          indicators cumulatively leading to a more precise measure of GDP. The Census Bureau is developing practical innovations that harness data
          from administrative or commercial records, and other forms of Big Data (large volumes of data sets that may be combined and analyzed to
          reveal patterns and trends, complementing and supplementing surveys) to create more timely, relevant, and granular economic and social
        • As part of the Census Bureau’s support for government-wide efforts to modernize data collection, analysis, and dissemination, it will partner with
          BEA to support development of a framework for a U.S. Federal Data Service to promote data access and sharing, improve cross-agency data
          discovery and utilization, and enhance privacy and confidentiality practices.  
      • The Census Project reported the following highlights
        • Releasing apportionment and redistricting data;
        • Conducting coverage and quality operations, including the post-enumeration survey;
        • Closing Census 2020 field operations and decommissioning related equipment and devices;
        • Launching the Frames initiative, which will integrate data on persons, places, and the economy for use in all Census Bureau surveys, censuses, and official products;
        • Conducting research on financially sustainable collection methods or alternative sources of comparable data on the economic well-being of Americans and program participation;
        • Establishing an enterprise-wide capability to expand the use of administrative records to improve sample survey operations, data quality, and data products and continuing support for the Administrative Records Clearinghouse;
        • Finalizing data releases from the 2017 Economic Census; and,
        • Developing and implementing tools and software as part of the agency’s avoidance disclosure activities.

 Reports on FY21 request:

Reports on FY21 Congressional Developments:

Updates (and sources):

  1. 2/10/20 OMB Analytical Perspectives, Table 26-1 for most agencies; for BJS in DOJ section
  2. 7/6: EIA House E&W draft bill
  3. 7/6: ERS and NASS House Ag draft bill
  4. 7/6: BLS House LaborH draft bill
  5. 7/7: BEA & Census: House CJS draft bill
  6. 11/10: BLS, NCES, NCHS: Senate report language
  7. 11/10: BEA, BJS, Census, Senate draft language
  8. 11/10: ERS & NASS, Senate draft language
  9. 11/10: EIA, Senate draft language
  10. 12/21: ERS/NASS Omnibus
  11. 12/21: BEA/BJS/Census Omnibus
  12. 12/21: EIA Omnibus
  13. 12/21: BLS, NCES, NCHS Omnibus

See also: 

Statistical Agency abbreviations

 BEA Bureau of Economic Analysis
BJS Bureau of Justice Statistics
BLS Bureau of Labor Statistics
BTS Bureau of Transportation Statistics 
ERS Economic Research Service
EIA Energy Information Administration
NASS National Agricultural Statistics Service
NCES National Center for Education Statistics 
NCHS National Center for Health Statistics
NCSES National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, NSF
ORES Office of Research, Evaluation, and Statistics, SSA
SOI Statistics of Income Division, IRS

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