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Census Bureau asks for 120-day delay of 2020 census deadlines

Steven Dillingham, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday called for a delay of 120 days to compile data used to apportion members of Congress among the states and draw congressional districts for the 2020 census due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Steven Dillingham, Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Monday called for a delay of 120 days to compile data used to apportion members of Congress among the states and draw congressional districts for the 2020 census due to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

April 13 (UPI) -- The U.S. Census Bureau on Monday requested to delay deadlines related to the 2020 census for 120 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross and Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham issued a statement saying they have asked Congress for an additional 120 calendar days to deliver final counts to compile data used to apportion members of Congress among the states and draw congressional districts.

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"Under this plan, the Census Bureau would extend the window for field data collection and self-response to October 31, 2020, which will allow for apportionment counts to be delivered to the President by April 30, 2021, and restricting data to be delivered to the states no later than July 31, 2021," they wrote.

Field collection for the census bureau was suspended in March and the Census Bureau said steps are being taken to reactivate field offices as early as June 1.

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Ross and Dillingham said the delay would aid workers in abiding by social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

During a briefing by the White House Coronavirus Task Force on Monday, President Donald Trump joined the officials in calling for an extension, saying he believes 120 days "isn't nearly enough."

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"During this difficult time we're also working to ensure that the 2020 Census is completed safely and accurately. We may be asking for an extension because obviously they can't be doing very much right now. They wouldn't even be allowed to do it. So the Census, we are going to be asking for a delay, a major delay," he said.

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