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Government & Politics

Montana Congressional Delegation Pushes For Census Extension

A photo from the Census Bureau asking "How will you be filling out your Census?"
census.mt.gov

Montana’s U.S. Senators are urging congressional leadership to extend the 2020 census response deadline, which they say is necessary to ensure all Montanans are counted.

In letters sent this week to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Republican Steve Daines and Democrat Jon Tester ask that an extension be included in the next coronavirus relief package.

The ask comes after the U.S. Census Bureau announced it will end field operations Sept. 30, a month sooner than a previous extension. Montanans’ self response rate to the census is lagging behind the national average.

On a press call this week, Tester said Montana stands to lose federal funds supporting schools, tribal governments and healthcare, along with a potential second seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"I don't see how this benefits anybody. I do see how this hurts a bunch of people," Tester said.

Daines wrote the rural nature of Montana, the fact that many residents only recently received invitations to respond and the additional challenges of counting amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will leave tens of thousands of people in Montana uncounted if the deadline is not pushed back.

A spokesperson for Congressman Greg Gianforte says he also supports extending the deadline.

All three delegates are also calling for the Postmaster General of the U.S. Postal Service to reverse new policies that delay mail delivery.

To learn more about responding to the census, you can visit 2020census.gov.