Maloney: Census Bureau cuts will come back to haunt us
U.S. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (Greenpoint, parts of Queens and Manhattan) joined other officials and civil rights groups on Wednesday to push legislation to fix the current underfunding of the Census Bureau.
Budget cuts are preventing the bureau from fully preparing for the mandated 2020 census by forcing it to scale back on testing required in 2018, Maloney, co-chair of the House Census Caucus, said in a statement.
Due to the cuts, rural and suburban communities and communities with high levels of military personnel have been dropped entirely from operations testing, and the Spanish language test in Puerto Rico has been canceled. Work on advertising campaigns and partnership programs are also delayed.
This might be the first time in history the Census Bureau fails to deliver a complete count of the nation, Maloney warned.
“Counting every person in this country every ten years is a Constitutional obligation that dates back to our founding, yet because of chronic underfunding the 2020 Census is at serious risk of failure,” she said.
Maloney, co-chair Keith Ellison (Minnesota) and Reps. Mark Takano (California) and Ruben Gallego (Arizona) are introducing the 2020 American Census Investment Act to provide adequate funding to the bureau.
“The choice is simple, “Maloney said. “We can pay now or ask our constituents to pay far more later down the road — or worse, we can own the first ever failure to fulfill our Constitutional duty to deliver a full, fair and complete count of the nation.”
Gallego claimed that the Trump administration was attempting to “sabotage” the census.
“When the census is compromised, it is minority and immigrant communities that face the harshest consequences,” he said in a statement “Federal funds for Medicaid, education and housing assistance don’t get to communities where they are needed most, and it makes it harder to enforce key civil rights laws like the Voting Rights Act, which depends on accurate census data. A compromised census means a compromised democracy.”
Rights leaders called an accurate census a civil rights issue.
Jennifer Bellamy, legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union, said that census data “helps ensure to fair and proportionate voting representation, determines the allocation of key federal funds and assists federal agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in combatting discrimination.”
“If the census isn’t fair and accurate, the nation’s most vulnerable communities will be robbed of representation and needed resources for years to come,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.