WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Gary Peters, Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, cosponsored a bipartisan bill that would extend two key deadlines for the 2020 Census by four months and require the Census Bureau to continue field operations through October 31, 2020. The Coronavirus pandemic caused significant delays to census operations, and the U.S. Census Bureau requested Congress extend the deadlines. Without the additional time provided by the extension, the 2020 Census is at risk of severely undercounting the population, including in Michigan.
“The Coronavirus pandemic and shortened census schedule threaten to create an inaccurate count that will stay with us for the next ten years, if Congress does not extend the census deadlines,” said Senator Peters. “The 2020 Census is a roadmap for the next decade, and Michiganders and our communities stand to lose significant federal funding for our schools, public health services, infrastructure projects, and more. This commonsense legislation will ensure the Bureau has enough time to ensure everyone gets counted and certify their data is accurate.”
For every person in Michigan who does not get counted, the state risks losing $1,800 in federal funding for health care, education, roads and more. Michigan is also home to at least 800,000 “hard to count” residents, including African Americans and other minority communities, rural residents, students, children, low-income households, and people experiencing homelessess.
The 2020 Census Deadline Extensions Act would continue 2020 Census field operations until October 31, 2020 to give the agency enough time to ensure a full count. It would also extend the deadlines for delivery of completed apportionment data and redistricting data to ensure that the Census Bureau has sufficient time to process the data and conduct analyses and checks to ensure the information is accurate. An advisory committee to the U.S. Census Bureau, made up of top data scientists, has also warned the agency about inaccuracies caused by a shortened timeline. Additionally, the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of the Inspector General recently released a report that found the decision to shorten the 2020 Census schedule was not made by the Census Bureau and creates risks to a complete and accurate count.
Peters cosponsored this bipartisan bill with U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).