We're exhausted. And now the Trump administration wants to pick a fight with the Census?
A Census undercount would have massive impact on my congressional district and all over the country. We shouldn’t have to be wasting our time on this.
Washington, August 10, 2020
Originally published in USA Today.
Is anyone else just simply exhausted by this administration’s consistent efforts to undermine the Constitution and the success of the very citizenry we all serve? This time, with its plan to cut off counting a month early, they’re after the Census.
Article 1, Section 2 of our Constitution states: "The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct."
I hate to sound like the annoyed and stressed-to-the-max mom I am, but is anyone over there in the Oval Office willing to ever stand up and just say, “Knock it off"?
We as a nation are bone-tired. We wake up every morning to a global pandemic to which we’ve lost over 160,000 American lives. We are in one of the worst economic downturns in United States history. Our children are uncertain about returning to school in September. Hospitals are overcrowded and overtaxed. Families are struggling to pay rent and put food on the table. Our post office is woefully unprepared for a general election in less than three months.
And the Trump administration wants to pick a battle with the…Census?
Constitution is not just a guide
We are not referencing the proverbial Pirate Code of Conduct. The Constitution isn’t simply a set of “guidelines” you can choose to follow one day and ignore the next. It’s the founding document of our country. It’s what I swore allegiance to when I served in the Air Force and then again when I was sworn into Congress. It’s the document you also, Mr. President, vowed to “preserve, protect and defend.”
We are already in multiple crises. Why do we need to add another? And let’s be clear — an undercount in the census will lead to crises down the road as communities won’t receive the federal funds they need for programs like Medicaid, Medicare, food assistance, public housing, Pell Grants for students, infrastructure, education and more.
Take my community, for example. I represent Chester County and the southern part of Berks County, including the city of Reading, in eastern Pennsylvania.
If just one single person goes uncounted in my district, we could see a reduction in health care funding by $1,746 per year over the course of the decade, education funding by $774, and job training by $128. You do not need to be an engineer or former teacher to figure that that is nearly $2,700 per person, each year, over 10 years.
Undercounting has massive impact
The consequences of undercounting are hugely consequential. And that’s why we extended the deadline for completion through the end of October, so that, even in this pandemic, we could strive for an accurate and meaningful count.
We shouldn’t have to be wasting our time on this. In Washington, we should be working on the next phase of pandemic relief. The administration should be working with us to ensure that every state, blue or red, can complete an accurate enumeration of people. There is just so much we should be focusing on.
I am calling upon the administration to reverse this decision immediately and honor our collective constitutional mandate. And I’m calling on you, our citizenry, to also call out this administration and enabling legislators for this destructive agenda.