Rep. Maloney Introduces New Bill to Protect 2020 Census

Mar 20, 2018
Press Release
New legislation prohibits spending on any provisions that would undermine fair, accurate census

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Co-Chair of the House Census Caucus, introduced the 2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act to ensure that the Decennial Census is executed with the highest level of accuracy at the lowest cost to the American taxpayer. Former Census Bureau Director Dr. Kenneth Prewitt and NALEO Educational Fund Executive Director Arturo Vargas joined Reps. Maloney, José E. Serrano (D-NY), Grace Meng (D-NY), and Adriano Espaillat (D-NY) at an event today to call attention to the Trump Administration’s mismanagement of the 2020 Census. Original co-sponsors of the bill are Reps. Serrano, Meng, Espaillat and Darren Soto (D-FL).

“The 2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act has unfortunately become a necessary safeguard against this administration’s clear desire to politicize and compromise the 2020 Census,” said Rep. Maloney. “This bill will protect the integrity of the census, our nation’s largest peacetime undertaking, by making sure that topics and questions included in the census are properly vetted and not added at the last minute – endangering the accuracy of the census, response rates, and cost to the taxpayer. We cannot accept an incomplete or unfair count in 2020 – too much is at stake. The data from the census affects the way federal and state funds are distributed and district lines are drawn, and helps businesses grow and non-profits better serve their communities. We need accurate, uncompromised data. The IDEA Act will help ensure that happens.”

“I cannot offer any scientific reason to add a question at this late time to the census form, but I can assure you that this untested, last minute change will introduce great risk to the accuracy and cost to the people’s census,” said former Census Bureau Director Prewitt. “The first President in history making money off the Census.  Jefferson must to turning over in his grave.”

“The fact that the Trump campaign would start using this as a fundraiser just really is an assault on the constitution," said NALEO Education Fund Executive Director Vargas. “It plays to the anti-immigrant nativist sentiments that the Trump campaign used to get elected, and it’s a way to keep that kind of statement alive as the president goes into his second year.”

“This is common sense legislation to prevent the politicization of the Census,” said Rep. Serrano. “We have seen worrying signs from the Administration in trying to promote untested questions that would undermine census participation in immigrant communities, and it is time for Congress to step in and protect the Bureau, and our constituents, from these partisan efforts. As the Ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Subcommittee overseeing funding for both the Census Bureau and the Department of Justice, we need to ensure maximum participation in the 2020 Census to prevent undercounts and efficiently manage federal dollars- this bill represents a huge step in that direction.”

“I’m proud to support the 2020 Census Improving Data and Enhanced Accuracy (IDEA) Act, and the 2020 Census Investment Act. They will bring much needed oversight to the process of designing the census,” said Rep. Meng. “I cannot overstate the importance of accurate and reliable census data. It is critical for Queens and New York that the census is completed accurately, and that everyone gets counted. But the Trump Administration’s current mismanagement of the upcoming decennial census puts its accuracy in jeopardy, and America is at serious risk of an inaccurate count. There are no do-overs with the census. We have one chance to get it right, and time is quickly running out.”

“Ensuring that all questions are thoroughly researched and tested should be an absolute requirement for the decennial census,” said Rep. Espaillat. “The specific wording and format of questions are designed to be easily understood and to promote a high response rate, and any last-minute operational design changes of questions not thoroughly tested would jeopardize the accuracy of the Census. The Census already faces endemic problems regarding response rates, and consistently undercounts minority and immigrant communities – last-minute design changes would only further exacerbate the problem.”

“The addition of last-minute, untested questions to the U.S. Census would negatively impact the outcome of it, and could result in increased costs to the Bureau, said Rep. Soto. “More alarming, it could affect the accuracy of Census reporting from individuals living in minority and immigrant communities. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Maloney and colleagues to ensure accurate data that reflects our country’s population.”

###

Issues: