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Washington, D.C. Apr. 13, 2020 — Today, Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, the Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, issued the following statement after participating in a conference call arranged earlier today by the White House to convey a request from the Trump Administration to delay key aspects of the 2020 Census as a result of the coronavirus crisis:
“As Chairwoman of the authorizing committee for the Census Bureau, I am committed to a complete and accurate Census count. The Oversight Committee will carefully examine the Administration’s request, but we need more information that the Administration has been unwilling to provide. The Director of the Census Bureau was not even on today’s call, and the Administration has refused for weeks to allow him to brief Members of our Committee, despite repeated requests. 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.”
Chairwoman Maloney has been seeking a briefing for all Committee Members with the Director of the Census Bureau since March 23, 2020. Despite numerous requests, the Administration has repeatedly declined to schedule this briefing.
This morning, the White House hastily arranged a call with a handful of Members of Congress, but did not release the list of invitees.
The Director of the Census Bureau was not on the call, nor was any official from the Census Bureau.
Instead, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross announced that, as a result of the coronavirus outbreak, the Trump Administration plans to delay all Census field operations until June 1, 2020, and plans to complete the count on October 31, 2020—a delay of about three months.
Secretary Ross also stated that the Administration is seeking legislation from Congress to delay current statutory deadlines by four months:
- The Administration seeks to delay the deadline to deliver apportionment counts to the President from December 31, 2020, to April 30, 2021, and
- The Administration seeks to delay the deadline to deliver redistricting data to the states from March 31, 2021, to July 31, 2021.
If Congress agrees, Secretary Ross said the Administration would contact states that also may require legislative changes to push back redistricting deadlines.
Secretary Ross did not rule out further delays depending on federal, state, and local public health guidance.
In response to questions, Secretary Ross acknowledged that the Administration had not sought input from Congress about this request in advance of this call because of concerns about leaks to the press.
According to the invitation, Administration officials on the call in addition to Secretary Ross included:
- John Fleming, Senior Advisor to the White House Chief of Staff
- Eric Ueland, Director of the White House Office of Legislative Affairs
- Russ Vought, Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget
- Deputy Secretary of Commerce Karen Dunn Kelley
- Mike Walsh, Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Commerce