WASHINGTON (Nexstar) — As the U.S. Census Bureau stays on track to stop its head count at the end of the month, the House Oversight and Reform Committee held a hearing Thursday to push for legislative action to extend the deadline, in light of the coronavirus crisis.
U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) says Census workers are scrambling to meet the unrealistic deadline.
“They had to cut field operations by a month, and they had to slash their data processing operations from five months to three,” said Maloney.
The Trump Administration initially asked Congress for more time, but now the U.S. Census Bureau says counting efforts for the 2020 Census will stop Sept. 30. That’s a month earlier than originally planned.
“They asked for the extension, and why did they reverse themselves and drop it?” asked Maloney.
Maloney released a staff report Thursday that shows states with an under count of just 1% could lose hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.
“Having an accurate count ensures that Texas will get our fair share of those federal funds,” said U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
Cornyn says it’s not just federal dollars at stake, but also a seat in Congress.
“Some states will lose representation in Congress and other states, like Texas, will gain additional congressional seats,” he explained.
U.S. Representative James Comer (R-KY) agrees an accurate Census is critical, but says Congress should focus on getting a fair headcount instead of bickering about the deadline.
“I urge us all to focus on the task at hand,” said Comer.
The House passed legislation to extend the deadline in the Heroes Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not include the extension in the Republicans’ bill.