Maloney, Colleagues: We Won’t Be Delaying the Census, So Get Started on Printing

Jul 2, 2019
Press Release

Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), co-chair and founder of the House Census Caucus and author of the 2020 Census IDEA Act, today was joined by her colleagues in telling Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross that he must not delay printing the 2020 Census as per President Trump’s tweets, because the U.S. Congress has no intention of changing the law which mandates the census start on April 1, 2020.

The Members urged the Secretary to begin printing without the citizenship question immediately. Census experts have said that they need to begin the printing process in early July 2019 in order to begin the 2020 Census by the statute-mandated start date of April 1, 2020.

In the letter, the members state, “[W]e do not accept the President’s insinuation that he has the authority to delay the census. The census date of April 1st is codified in Title 13 of the US Code. Only Congress has the authority to delay the census and must do so through the legislative process, which we have no intention of doing.”

Joining the Congresswoman on the letter were Representatives Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), James P. McGovern (D-MA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Brian Higgins (D-NY), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Grace Meng (D-NY), Dwight Evans (D-PA), Darren Soto (D-FL), Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).

Full text below and a PDF can be found here.

Dear Secretary Ross,

We write to express our deep concerns about tweets from President Trump in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling to block the addition of a question on citizenship in the 2020 Census in Department of Commerce v. New York. We find his threat to delay the census extremely troubling.  We urge you to continue census preparation without delay and submit the census questionnaire without a citizenship question for printing on or before July 4, 2019.

The census is America’s largest peacetime undertaking consisting of numerous interconnected operations. The next nine months are the most critical for decennial preparation in the entire decade-long cycle. During this time, the Census Bureau must finish hiring staff, execute a comprehensive communications campaign, finalize partnerships with local outreach groups and develop IT contingency plans. These critical operations and more depend on having a finalized questionnaire, and that process must begin in a matter of days. Any attempt to delay the census only threatens the success of the overall count at the expense of taxpayers.

Furthermore, we do not accept the President’s insinuation that he has the authority to delay the census. The census date of April 1st is codified in Title 13 of the US Code. Only Congress has the authority to delay the census and must do so through the legislative process, which we have no intention of doing.

Throughout the litigation process surrounding the inclusion of a citizenship question, lawyers for the Department of Commerce repeatedly underscored the importance of reaching a final decision before July so that the census forms could go to print on time. That decision has been rendered, definitively. Therefore, we urge you to move forward without delay and begin printing the census questionnaire without a citizenship question on or before July 4, 2019 as required to faithfully conduct the Census. We appreciate your attention to this matter.

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