House Democrats press Ross for census query information

By Tara Bahrampour | Washington Post

WASHINGTON – House Democrats grilled Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Thursday about his decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, with several asking if he had lied under oath and one demanding his resignation.

Members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform pressed Ross to explain why his previous sworn testimony conflicted with government records. They pointed to congressional hearings last spring at which he testified that his move to add the question came solely in response to a December 2017 request from the Justice Department. Litigation around the question later produced emails showing that Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, had been pushing for the question for months before that.

“You can’t lie to Congress,” Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, said to Ross. “Michael Cohen lied to Congress and now he’s going to prison.”

At the end of the 6 1/2-hour hearing, committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said Ross had until Tuesday to produce documents related to the questioning or possibly face a subpoena.

Inquiries from committee members fell along party lines, with Republicans defending the addition of the question but largely avoiding probing the secretary’s conflicting accounts.

Instead, some Republicans said the hearing was inappropriate given ongoing legal wrangling over whether the question should appear on the decennial form. Democrats said legal precedent allows for congressional hearings on issues even as they are being litigated.

Seven lawsuits have challenged Ross’ March 26 decision to add the question to the 2020 survey. Plaintiffs, which include multiple states, cities, and civic organizations, say it violates the Administrative Procedure Act and the constitutional mandate to enumerate every person living in the United States.

Opponents say that the question is a political maneuver by the Trump administration. They say its inclusion, particularly at a time when noncitizens feel targeted by the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics


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