Shaheen & Colleagues Call For Congress to Act on Census Extension & Urge Whistleblowers to Speak Out on Politicization of the CountOctober 19, 2020
**Shaheen, the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the census, has been sounding the alarm on the Trump administration’s political attacks against the bureau that threaten a fair and accurate 2020 count**
**On the Senate floor earlier this month, Shaheen called on the administration end its politicization of the U.S. Census & called on Senate leadership to prioritize an extension in legislation**
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the census, and U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Brian Schatz (D-HI) today released the following joint statement in response to the Trump administration’s political decision to reverse course and end counting for the 2020 Census:
“After initially announcing an extension of Census operations due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration’s political decision to reverse course and end counting now is simply shameful. The Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding this policy is equally outrageous. This politicization of the census should compel Congress to act to preserve the extended timeline for the 2020 Census. It is not too late to allow adequate time to complete an accurate census count.
“For any person who may have additional knowledge of wrongdoing or misconduct, now is the time to blow the whistle and expose this Administration’s mismanagement of the Census. Federal law protects their rights to make protected disclosures to Congress anonymously and free from retaliation. To the patriots who continue to work tirelessly to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the Census: come forward, speak the truth, and Congress will fight for you.
“According to its own experts, the Census Bureau knew rushing the count during this pandemic could severely degrade the accuracy and completeness of the 2020 Census. Yet despite these warnings, it appears the White House intervened to ensure President Trump would control the apportionment process rather than ensuring an accurate count for the American people as required by the Constitution.
“With a rush to now process Census data under a drastically reduced timeline, experts at the Bureau previously warned they could be forced to curtail or entirely remove key steps developed over the past decade to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the count. Communities across the country now may be denied billions of dollars in federal funding because this Administration’s politically-motivated choice.
“We need brave Americans to stand up and speak out.”
As the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the census, Shaheen has led efforts in Congress to secure a fair and accurate 2020 census and to hold the administration responsible for its destructive efforts to politicizes the census count. Following the Supreme Court’s decision to allow the administration to end the census early, Shaheen called on Congress to act to preserve the extended timeline for gathering census responses. This follows Shaheen's remarks on the Senate floor earlier this month demanding the administration an end its politicization of the census and called on Senate leadership to prioritize an extension in legislation. In September, Shaheen sent a letter with a group of lawmakers led by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) to the U.S. Census Bureau calling for more details on how they plan to use data from the 2020 Census to apportion congressional representation. In a previous letter Shaheen sent to U.S. Census Director Steven Dillingham, Shaheen called on him to answer a series of questions to ensure the 2020 Census is completed fairly and accurately. Her letter was in response to reports that the Trump administration is trying to rush execution of the Census for political purposes. In July, Senator Shaheen sent a bipartisan letter with Senator Jerry Moran (R-KS) – the Chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the census – raising concerns of political impropriety after reports the Trump administration transferred political appointees to the nonpartisan agency.
In August, Shaheen sent a letter with a group of Senators to congressional leadership urging them to include an extension of the census in upcoming COVID-19 relief. Shaheen also sent a letter to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Commerce requesting an investigation into whether political pressure from the White House and Department of Commerce leadership led to the decision to shorten field data collection and self-response operations by a month. Additionally, Shaheen led a letter signed by all the Democrats on the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies Appropriations subcommittee, calling for the Government Accountability Office to thoroughly assess and compile a report on the “completeness and quality” of the 2020 Census. The Government Accountability Office – which is an independent, non-partisan federal oversight agency – determined that the Trump administration’s rushed census reporting timeline threatens the accuracy of this year’s census count.
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