Daily Resource Highlight 3/29/2021

Posted by on March 29, 2021 at 1:02 PM

Below are the highlights and featured resources of this past week’s Daily* Resource.


3/23/2021 -  Counting Philadelphia: A Census Story

Early last year, when COVID-19 was still an unknown threat, the U.S. Census Bureau was at my library encouraging locals to apply for a job with the 2020 Census. I decided to apply and was eventually hired as the supervisor for my community in Southern New Jersey. It was my duty to make sure that everybody in my town was counted.

During a normal Census year, this is challenging. In 2020, as you can imagine, it was an entirely different beast. We had less time to get the job done, and we were knocking on strangers’ doors during a deadly pandemic. 

There have been a number of stories written about these challenges, but fewer stories about how communities adapted to meet the challenges. Public Agenda has one such story. They teamed with Philly Counts 2020 to understand and report how Census workers engaged with the Philadelphia community to achieve an accurate count. You can read the final report here.

As a Philly native, I’m deeply grateful to all the Census workers who worked hard to count my hometown. I also appreciate the City’s efforts to make the 2020 Census’ infrastructure plans, media, and maps publicly accessible to help with future efforts.


3/26/2021 - A Primer on the Senate Filibuster and the “Nuclear Option”

A word of warning. This edition of The Daily* Resource is going to get wonky. But if you want to know why Democrats are struggling to pass their agenda, I encourage you to read on.

When Democrats won the Georgia Senate runoffs, it gave them control of both chambers of Congress as well as the Presidency for the first time since 2008. This has, in turn, led to a push to enact an array of policies favored by reformers and progressive activities, including “a sweeping package of voting, ethics, and campaign finance reforms” known as the “For the People Act of 2021.”

These efforts have been frustrated by the existence of the Senate filibuster, which essentially requires 60 Senators to pass legislation. Democrats were able to circumvent the filibuster for the COVID-19 stimulus bill using a process known as reconciliation. Reconciliation, though, can only be used to pass certain types of legislation (if you want to know more about reconciliation, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget has an excellent overview).

The alternative to getting 60 votes is to use what’s known as “the nuclear option,” which is a procedural maneuver that could be used to change the Senate’s rules and weaken (or eliminate) the filibuster. R Street Institute just published a great article on what it would mean to use the nuclear option and some of the politics that could determine whether the filibuster survives this Congress.