Sen. Leahy Issue Brief on the Cost of Census Inaction

“Senate Republicans need to abandon their ‘wait-and-see’ approach and Congress must provide the resources to support the Census,” according to Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT). In an issue brief he recently circulated, the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee hammered the importance of completing the 2020 Census count in the face of significant pandemic-driven delays.

Leahy’s brief warned that the “delays are estimated to cost more than $800 million in additional salary for Area Census Office staff, advertising to support self-response efforts, and extending contracts and office leases. This is on top of an estimated $700 million to increase enumeration staff, provide PPE, and support paid sick leave. While Congress provided a $2 billion reserve to mitigate unforeseen costs, the pandemic is likely to consume 75 percent these funds. Without additional funding the Census has only a limited reserve in its final six months, which includes major field operations that begin in August. If there are future COVID-19 impacts, natural disasters, or cybersecurity issues, the Census could be cash strapped, which could endanger the accuracy of the Census and have consequences on funding for communities and Congressional apportionment over the next decade.”

“The Mounting Cost of Inaction: The Census” – https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Census.pdf

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