Proposed budget cuts in Senate threaten Census Bureau

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Cuts the Senate has proposed for the U.S. Census Bureau's budget next year may make it harder for the government to prepare for natural disasters, fund public schools appropriately or understand this country's complex and mobile population, according to those who rely on census data. The fiscal 2006 spending plan approved in the Senate includes a 17 percent cut from the $879 million the Bush administration wanted to allocate for the census. That cut would push census spending for fiscal 2006, which began Oct. 1, below its spending in fiscal 2005. Cutting census spending would impair the government's ability to calculate gross domestic product, poverty rates and the true size of populations that have traditionally been undercounted -- including children, rural residents, American Indians and other minorities, according to the bureau.

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