Apr 13, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump administration pushes to delay census field operations due to coronavirus

Census papers
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The Trump administration is planning to delay census field operations until June 1 with the expectation that the count will be completed on Oct. 31, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told lawmakers Monday.

Why it matters: The census determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funds will be allocated across state and local governments. It's already a difficult process to facilitate without complications from the coronavirus, with many Americans unsure of how to participate or facing concerns over sharing their information.

  • Ross also told lawmakers that the administration is seeking legislation from Congress to delay the deadline for delivering state population counts used for apportionment from Dec. 31 to April 30, 2021, and the deadline for giving data for redistricting to states from March 31, 2021, to July 31, 2021.

What they're saying: House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) issued a statement Monday criticizing the Trump administration's lack of transparency in its request to delay aspects of the census, such as by not including the director of the Census Bureau on the briefing call.

"If the Administration is trying to avoid the perception of politicizing the Census, preventing the Census Director from briefing the Committee and then excluding him from a call organized by the White House are not encouraging moves. The Constitution charges Congress with determining how the Census is conducted, so we need the Administration to cooperate with our requests so we can make informed decisions on behalf of the American people.”
— Carolyn Maloney

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