Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield, (R-KY-01), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, and U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, (R-KY-02), introduced the Services Members and Communities Act of 2012. This legislation will provide a more accurate count of our deployed service members in the national census conducted every 10 years. Reps. Whitfield and Guthrie introduced legislation in the House today, and Sen. Paul introduced the legislation in the Senate yesterday.
"Support for the troops doesn't end with the service members themselves," Sen. Paul said. "Families and communities provide a vital role in supporting the men and women of the Armed Forces in harm's way. By counting deployed service members according to where they actually live, this creates a better representation of the population and ensures communities have the needed resources to support these soldiers and their families."
Rep. Whitfield said, "No community should be short changed in the Census count, especially our communities that serve members of our military fighting for our nation. This bill will allow the service members who are deployed during the Census count to be counted toward the communities in which they most recently lived. This is especially important for those communities with military bases. It ensures the communities receive their rightful benefits based on their populations."
Rep. Guthrie said, "I'm glad to be able to support this bill that will have a measurable effect on defense communities around the country, like Fort Campbell and Fort Knox. These communities deserve credit, on the books and off the books, for housing our military men and women, and they certainly shouldn't be penalized when our troops are abroad. The Census needs to reflect our military communities' commitment to freedom and democracy."
This act will fully and accurately count all members of the Armed Services, especially those service members who are deployed. This legislation will allow deployed service members to be counted in the communities in which their permanent duty station or home is located on the date of the census.
Under current Census Bureau policy, service members deployed for overseas operations are counted in two separate ways. Sailors and some members of the Marine Corps, if deployed on a U.S. naval vessel, are counted from the home port of the respective ship, which may not be the same state or region where those sailors and Marines were stationed.
All other deployed service members are counted at the address given at the time of enlistment. With thousands of troops deployed overseas, the communities surrounding military bases are not accurately counted and missing out on vital federal funds that can be used to support the families of our service members.