Congressional Democrats Call for Census Deadline Extension

2020 Census
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[2020 Census]
Rep. Maloney: “This should not be a partisan issue. If Republican Senators want the people in their states to get the federal funds they are due—for healthcare, education, and a host of other programs—they should make sure they are fully counted.
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Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, released a series of staff reports warning that states with an undercount of just 1% in the 2020 Census could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding they are entitled to every year unless the statutory deadlines are extended to address delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This should not be a partisan issue,” said Chairwoman Maloney. “If Republican Senators want the people in their states to get the federal funds they are due—for healthcare, education, and a host of other programs—they should make sure they are fully counted. But the coronavirus crisis has delayed the count, and states across the country are being undercounted just as census workers are being pulled out. These numbers will be locked in for the next decade unless the Senate acts now to pass legislation to extend the deadlines to give the Census Bureau sufficient time to cope with this once-in-a-generation pandemic.”

The Trump Administration asked Congress in April to pass legislation to extend the statutory deadlines for the Census by 120 days in order to address significant delays caused by the coronavirus crisis. The House passed these extensions in May, but the Senate has not yet acted. Chairwoman Maloney also introduced stand-alone legislation, the Fair and Accurate Census Act.

The staff reports released today estimate the amount of federal funding that the following states would lose in select healthcare, job training, and education programs—each and every year—with just a 1% undercount:

  • Alabama: $39.7 million per year
  • Arizona: $60.7 million per year
  • Florida: $188.8 million per year
  • Georgia: $74.8 million per year
  • Kentucky: $44.6 million per year
  • Maine: $22.2 million per year
  • Montana: $9.7 million per year
  • North Carolina: $99 million per year
  • South Carolina: $40.3 million per year
  • Texas: $304 million per year
  • Utah: $16.4 million per year

Several Republican Senators have already urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to take up legislation to extend the deadlines as the House of Representatives did—including Senators Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, and Steve Daines—but McConnell has failed to do so.

The Census is used to distribute more than $1.5 trillion in federal funding, and an incomplete count could cost states their fair share of this funding. The reports issued today examine only a subset of that funding.

Specifically, the Department of Health and Human Services uses Census data to distribute more than $250 billion each year for programs like Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and foster-care support. Similarly, the Department of Education distributes grants to schools with a high proportion of low-income students as determined by Census data, and the Department of Labor distributes grants to fund assistance programs for job seekers based on Census data, including training for specific skills and jobs, mentoring and apprenticeship, career counseling, and assistance with jobs searches and relocation.

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