Massachusetts U.S. Representative Richard Neal said he hopes the courts force the government to continue collecting information for the census.
The U.S. Census Bureau was scheduled to conclude its data collection efforts in October, but the Trump administration moved the deadline up until the end of September.
A coalition of groups led by the National Urban League has challenged the new timeline in court, with a ruling expected this week.
The effort has the support of Neal, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.
"I hope it’s successful, largely because of the fact that the pandemic has made it much more difficult for enumeration," Neal said. "There are a lot of people I’m sure that don’t answer the door when somebody knocks on it if they’re a stranger. And I think it’s just become much harder to get an accurate head count. An accurate head count is everything."
The boundaries of Neal’s district could change as a result of the census. The exact contours of the area he represents would be decided by the Massachusetts legislature.
Neal made the remarks at an event on Friday in Chicopee with Mayor John Vieau. Vieau is urging residents to take part if they haven’t already and said it would help the city financially.
“It’s about $2,400 a year for the next ten years for every person who’s accounted for, so if we do not get an accurate count, frankly we don’t get our fair share here in the city of Chicopee of federal funding," he said.
Almost 71% of Chicopee households have responded to the census by mail, internet and phone, which is about two points higher than the state as a whole.