Sen. Tom Carper, D-Delaware, along with his Democratic colleagues on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee including Sens. Kamala D. Harris, D-California; Maggie Hassan, D-New Hampshire; and Gary Peters, D-Michigan, called on Committee Chairman Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisconsin, to hold an oversight hearing on the U.S. Census Bureau’s management of the 2020 Census with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and other top Census Bureau officials.
In the letter, the senators highlighted the lack of oversight hearings for the 2020 Census compared the number of hearings held at this point ahead of the 2010 Census.
“This committee has conducted far fewer oversight hearings for the 2020 Census to date than it conducted prior to the 2010 Census,” the senators wrote. “At this point prior to the last decennial census, this committee had already held four full or subcommittee oversight hearings — four which included testimony from a permanent Census Bureau director, and two which included testimony from the commerce secretary. In contrast, this committee has only held a single oversight hearing, at which only the commerce secretary and comptroller general testified, despite this census being larger, more complicated and more reliant on new technologies.”
The senators’ letter also follows new evidence that Ross may have misled lawmakers regarding political considerations that influenced the decision to add a citizenship question to the upcoming Census.
“New evidence suggests that Secretary Ross’s addition of a citizenship question may have involved improper political considerations and dismissed a warning about added costs and decreased census accuracy from a senior Census Bureau expert,” said the senators. “As the 2020 Census rapidly approaches, it is critical that Secretary Ross and top Census Bureau officials testify under oath to this committee about the addition and effect of this question and other pressing concerns.”
In January, Carper sent a letter to Ross urging to reject the Justice Department request to include a citizenship question. In March, Carper joined Harris in calling for a hearing on the 2020 Census, in response to the initial announcement of the proposed citizenship question.
The letter is available at bit.ly/2DkpRQi.