At Request of Reps. Maloney and Ocasio-Cortez, Oversight Committee Holds Field Hearing on the State and Local Importance of the Census

May 28, 2019
Press Release
Hearing held in Queens Focuses on Importance of Accurate Census Data for Congressional Representation, Distribution of Federal Funds, and to Business Development

NEW YORK, NY – Today, at the request of Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair of the House Census Caucus, and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, held a field hearing titled “Getting Counted: The Importance of the Census to State and Local Communities” during which experts testified to how census data is used by state and local communities and the efforts of governments, non-profits, and businesses to make sure everyone is counted.

“It is impossible to overstate the importance of getting accurate census data,” said Rep. Maloney. “New Yorkers in every corner of our city and state depend on these numbers, quite literally, for survival. In our state alone, Census data drives nearly $73 billion in federal funding per year. On top of that, this data drives how businesses of every size for strategic planning like where and even if to open new stores – leading to new jobs and investment in our communities. And, perhaps most importantly, it helps to determine congressional district lines and how the Electoral College is divided. The census forms the foundation of our representative democracy. Messing with this data, and trying to force an undercount of immigrant and minority communities with underfunding and the citizenship question is, frankly, un-American. I thank Chairman Raskin, for responding to my and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s request for this hearing because the census is something we simply cannot afford to get wrong.”

"Today’s hearing proved that we must do all we can to get an accurate and honest count of our communities in the 2020 Census. As one of the cornerstones of our democracy, the Census must be protected,” said Rep. Ocasio-Cortez. “The Trump Administration is attempting to silence the voices of our constituents. We must not allow this to happen. The Census is an accounting of our diversity, our strength, and our needs – we must protect its purpose.”

“It is critical that everyone is counted in the Census to ensure that all communities are fairly represented and receive the resources they need,” said Chairman Cummings.  “I thank Congresswomen Maloney and Ocasio-Cortez for requesting today’s field hearing, and I thank Chairman Raskin for leading this hearing.  We need to make sure we are tracking progress as we prepare for the 2020 Census, addressing problems effectively and efficiently, and working to reach hard-to-count populations.  Today’s hearing gets us closer to that shared goal.”

“Since 1790, the decennial Census has been a fundamental precondition of American political democracy. I am thrilled to know that local and state governments and officials across the land are standing up to do public education about the importance of being counted and to demand a fair census,” said Rep. Raskin. “We need this activism in every community as the Trump Administration tries to impose a citizenship question to spread fear in immigrant neighborhoods and drags its feet on implementing the mechanics of a successful census.  From the standpoint of strong American democracy, the 2020 census is as important as the 2020 election. I want to salute my colleagues Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for their great initiative and leadership.” 

###