WASHINGTON, DC – House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Ranking Member Darrell Issa today issued the following release in response to U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke’s deceptive announcement that the 2010 Census saved taxpayers $1.6 billion, when in fact the Census ran $3 billion over its estimated budget. The original lifecycle cost of the 2010 Census was estimated at $11.3 billion – according to a non-partisan GAO report – yet due to Commerce Department mismanagement and weak Congressional oversight, the budget soared to more than $16 billion, allowing the Obama Administration to falsely claim the estimated $14.4 billion final cost of the Census “saved” taxpayers money.
“This is precisely the smoke-and-mirrors budget gimmickry that the American people have come to expect from the federal government,” Issa said. “It is ironic that an agency in existence to do simple arithmetic would try to peddle such incomplete and deceptive figures to cover up for its waste of an estimated $3 billion of taxpayers’ money. Only in Washington could someone try to spin such an embarrassing budget-buster into a triumph of thrift.
“For the last three years, Congressional Democrats have refused to do meaningful oversight of the federal bureaucracy, allowing the Census Bureau to get away with the wasteful spending, poor management and outright incompetence behind this massive cost overrun. Couple weak oversight with an Administration that chronically cooks the books to advance its reckless spending agenda and it is no wonder that the Secretary Locke would try to put one over on the American people.
“Adding insult to budgetary gimmickry, fully half of the ‘savings’ claimed by Secretary Locke come from an $800 million natural disaster reserve fund. Does the Obama Administration really believe it deserves credit for the weather during the 2010 Census? Sadly, it seems the only trustworthy number coming out of the Obama White House these days is the 14.6 million unemployed Americans demanding an honest government that actually saves more than it spends.”