COPAFS News and Events

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Please welcome APPAM as a new COPAFS member!

The Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) is dedicated to improving public policy and management by fostering excellence in research, analysis, and education. Federal statistics and federal administrative data on federal program participants and their economic, demographic, health, regional clustering, and other characteristics clearly inform the empirical research conducted by members of APPAM.  Please visit their Website at www.APPAM.org and check out their timely and relevant Tweets at @APPAM_DC.

We encourage and look forward to COPAFS member interaction with APPAM as a force in social science and federal statistics advocacy.

COPAFS is central to the organization of and planning for a “Friends of the Bureau of Labor Statistics” group.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) apparently needs a consolidated group of friends, In the President’s 2015 budget request, the BLS received insufficient funds to cover its core programs, including continuation of its principal economic indicator Export Price Index series (See: http://www.copafs.org/UserFiles/file/handouts/ExportPriceIndicesFinal.pdf ).

COPAFS took the lead in planning with the National Association for Business Statistics, Association of Public data Users, and the American Statistical Association the development of a Friends of the BLS group, whose purposes are to: a) create a network of users of BLS data and information to facilitate the distribution of information, opinions, and ideas about BLS among users; b) act as a reservoir of individuals and organizations who could participate in seminars and other educational events for the public and for public policy decision makers about the utility and overall value of BLS programs; and c) support the BLS as an institution that provides critical data and tools to a wide variety of users for a wide variety of purposes. The Friends of the BLS is not sanctioned by nor does it receive any support from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is completely independent of the BLS and BLS leadership. To view its current members and note its initial undertakings, please go to: http://www.copafs.org/projects/BLSFriends.aspx . To add your organization or yourself as an individual to the Friends of the BLS, please contact Co-Chairs Kitty Smith at kitty.smith@copafs.org or Greg Roth at info@apdu.org .

COPAFS is following appropriations bills concerning federal statistics

On May 8, the House Appropriations Committee has passed its appropriations bill for the Commerce. Justice, and Science agencies (See:  http://appropriations.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=379367 where links are given to the text of and report concerning the bill)

Agencies of importance to users of federal statistics that are funded by the bill include the Census Bureau, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Justice Statistics, and the National Science Foundation, including its National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics.

Going into the Hearing, the Census Bureau would receive 248 million for salaries and administration and $869.5 million for periodic programs, increases, well over 2014 appropriations, but below what the President’s budget had requested. Also, $1,551,000 in the periodic programs bucket would actually be diverted to the Office of the Inspector General. But during the full committee hearing, amendments were passed that will use a $1 million offset from Census to increase funding for the Missing and Exploited Children Program, and will divert $10 million from Census periodic programs (and $5 million from NSF) for salmon recovery on the West coast.

The Bureau of Economic Analysis would receive $99 million, which is the same amount appropriated in 2014, but is less than the President’s request of $111 million

This bill will go forward for consideration on the floor on the House on May 28, where additional amendments could be proposed. It appears that members/staff are unable to judge the tradeoffs involved in cutting funds for statistical activities. With other groups, COPAFS is developing educational materials in hopes of forestalling increased reductions or constraints when the bill hits the floor.

Save the date: COPAFS Quarterly Meeting to be held June 6, 2014.

The theme of the June Quarterly Meeting is administrative data. Shelly Martinez of the White House Office of Management and Budget will kick off the meeting with a review of recent White House guidance and initiatives on administrative data. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will describe the administrative records they have as retrievable data, how to use them, and outline their future plans. The Food and Nutrition Service will be there to talk about the challenges and rewards of working with nutrition program administrative data. A full agenda will be distributed shortly.