Information Items

March 29, 2019

1. The deadline for submissions in response to the AEAStat solicitation for sessions at the 2020 AEA meetings has been extended to April 15. The notice is posted at https://www.aeaweb.org/about-aea/committees/economic-statistics/annual-meeting

2. The President’s Proposed FY2020 Budget

The consensus is that the President’s 2020 budget is dead on arrival to the Congress. However, its major inclinations give powerful signals about the Administration’s priorities, and details released this week are interesting. The budget proposal addresses both funding and reorganization.

Science agency funding would be slashed:

  • NIH’s budget would drop from $39.1 billion to $34.4 billion (12 percent cut).
  • NSF’s budget would drop from $8.1 billion to $7.1 billion (12 percent cut).
    • Social, Behavioral and Economic Science would be cut by $19 million, about 8-percent
  • The Department of Energy’s Office of Science’s budget would drop from $6.6 billion to $5.5 billion (17 percent cut).
  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s budget would drop from $8.8 billion to $6.1 billion (31 percent cut).
  • The budget of the National Institute of Standards and Technology would drop from $986 million to $688 million (30 percent cut).

Statistical agency funding would remain more or less flat, with some exceptions (see: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ap_18_statistics-fy2020.pdf)

  • The Census Bureau would receive $7.2 billion, a multi-billion dollar increase, some of which is an anticipated rollover from FY 2019 funding, that would be devoted to implementation of the 2020 Census.
  • BLS would receive a $40 million increase, some if not all of which would go to moving costs and a new lease.
  • The Economic Research Service budget would be cut by 30-percent, and 15.5 million of its total budget of $61 million is designated for staff relocation costs.

Reorganizations of interest:

  • The President’s 2020 budget proposal reiterates the move of BLS from the Labor Department to the Commerce Department to improve coordination and collaboration of economic statistics.
  • The Economic Research Service would be taken out of USDA’s Research, Education and Economics Under Secretary and placed, instead, in the Secretary’s office under direction of a Chief Economist. The bulk of ERS staff (all but 75 positions) would be relocated outside of the DC Metro area. The agency’s research programs in food assistance, food safety, and rural economic development would be defunded.

3. Kitty Smith Evans was one of 4 former USDA Senior Executives who gave testimony March 27 before the House Agricultural Appropriations Subcommittee on USDA’s Proposed Relocation of the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The hearing can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkKH7XiAmwE

4. Wilbur Ross testified for nearly 7 hours before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the 2020 Census citizenship question. Fascinating and frustrating to watch. It is recorded on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EncbVI7srU

5. The Department of Labor has created a new Chief Data Officer position, as required of all Departments under the Foundations for Evidence Based Policymaking Act. It is the first Department to do so. https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/osec/osec20190313

6. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has issued a request for stakeholder input to gauge interest in NIH expending funds to develop, host, and maintain a secure environment (data enclave) that would allow approved research organizations controlled access to structured, de-identifiable NIH administrative and scientific information not made available to the public. Comments are due no later than May 30, 2019. https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-19-085.html

7. Public comments on the proposed reinstatement of BJS’s 2019 Supplemental Victimization Survey (SVS) to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) are due by April 8, 2019 https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/02/07/2019-01497/agency-information-collection-activities-proposed-ecollection-ecomments-requested-reinstatement

8. The Economic Report of the President was released on March 19, 2019. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ERP-2019.pdf

9. Papers and slides from NBER’s CRIW Conference, “Big Data for 21st Century Economic Statistics,” are available at: https://papers.nber.org/sched/CRIWs19

10. The first meeting of the CNSTAT Panel on Measuring Contingent Work and Alternative Work Arrangements will be held March 29 in Washington, DC. This session is open to the public. http://sites.nationalacademies.org/cs/groups/dbassesite/documents/webpage/dbasse_191861.pdf

11. The 2019 American Community Survey Data Users Conference will be held in Washington, DC May 14-15, 2019. To register: https://acsdatacommunity.prb.org/p/conferences

12. The Federal Reserve System’s Community Development Research Conference, “Renewing the Promise of the Middle Class,” will be held in Washington, DC May 9-10, 2019. For conference information, agenda, and registration, see: https://web.cvent.com/event/e5c9d5b6-c4d5-4535-b4f5-975eb8434cb9/summary