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American Association for Public Opinion Research

AAPOR Joint Statement of Support for BEA

October 21, 2019

The Honorable José Serrano
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jerry Moran
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Robert Aderholt
Ranking Member
House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jeanne Shaheen
Ranking Member
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Serrano, Ranking Member Aderholt, Chairman Moran, and Ranking Member Shaheen,

We the undersigned organizations write to thank your subcommittees for the strong support of the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in the House and Senate FY20 Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bills. We also convey our strong support for an enacted level of at least $107 million for the FY20 budget of the BEA.

While a relatively small agency, BEA is enormously important to understanding our multi-trillion-dollar economy. BEA’s National Income and Product Accounts provide an overall picture of the economic health of our economy as well as an essential sector-by-sector and geographic report. Its data are used by federal, state and local government to inform economic and fiscal policy and to spur economic growth and job creation. BEA data also play a vital role in guiding business and investment decisions in the private sector. Scientists use BEA data to inform their research on the implications of changes in the economy and how these changes affect individuals and communities. The data provided by BEA, essential as it is to both public and private decisions, are not available from any other source. We believe the extraordinary return on investment provided by the BEA thoroughly justifies a budget of at least $107 million in FY20.

This amount for BEA would allow it to undertake several important initiatives, including those in your bills’ reports. The administration’s request also proposes to develop a data service framework to promote evidence-based policymaking as required by the newly enacted Foundations of Evidence-Based Policymaking Act. The requested additional funding would support government-wide data access and sharing, improve cross-agency data discovery and utilization, and enhance privacy and confidentiality practices. The administration’s request would also support the Advisory Committee on Data for Evidence Building, which will make recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget on how to promote the use of
Federal data for evidence building. The administration’s requested amount would also allow BEA to improve existing statistics and faster development of new data products, a critical step in BEA’s longer-term plan to accelerate the publication of GDP by industry and GDP by state statistics. Lastly, the proposed amount would support the Administration’s proposal to reorganize the Bureau of Labor Statistics alongside the Census Bureau and BEA within the Department of Commerce.

In short, we believe at least $107 million for the BEA is an essential investment for promoting economic growth and job creation. Just as our economy is constantly changing, BEA is constantly improving its methods to adjust to our dynamic economy. This investment in our information infrastructure—small relative to our multi-trillion-dollar economy which it tracks—allows BEA to keep up with the changes in our economy and will repay the public many times over.

Thank you for your consideration.

American Association for Public Opinion Research
American Planning Association
American Sociological Association
American Statistical Association
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management
Association for University Business & Economic Research
Association of Academic Survey Research Organizations
Association of Population Centers
Association of Public Data Users
Center for Data Innovation
Consortium of Social Science Associations
Council for Community and Economic Research
Council of Professional Associations on Federal Statistics
Economic History Association
Industry Studies Association
National Association for Business Economics
Outdoor Industry Association
Population Association of America
State International Development Organizations
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

The staff contact for this letter is Steve Pierson, Director of Science Policy for the American Statistical Association ([email protected];703.302.1841.)