Plans by the Bureau of the Census to incorporate data from two new sample surveys into the 2000 decennial census count have had a mixed congressional reception. Three sampling bills in the 105th Congress (H.R. 1220, H.R. 1178, and H.R. 776) have been referred to committee, without further action. Sampling has been debated chiefly in the appropriations process (H.R. 1469, H.R. 1871 [P.L. 105-18; 111 Stat. 158], and H.R. 2267/S. 1022 [P.L. 105-119; 111 Stat. 2440]). The bureau now is a defendant in two anti-sampling suits brought under P.L. 105-119. The law also established a Census Monitoring Board and directed the bureau to prepare for a traditional headcount in 2000, not just to continue with its sampling plans.
The 105th Congress has debated the decennial census sampling issue mainly in the appropriations process, beginning with FY1997 supplemental appropriations legislation for disaster relief. In FY1998 appropriations for Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies (CJS), the Senate (S. 1022) instructed the Bureau of the Census not to make “irreversible” Census 2000 sampling plans, while the House (H.R. 2267) sought a moratorium on these plans, pending expedited judicial review of their constitutionality and legality.