Dems question whether administration broke law with citizenship question on census

Dems question whether administration broke law with citizenship question on census
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Congressional Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to explain how adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census complies with a federal data collection law. 

Sens. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Fewer than half of school districts test for lead | Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act | FEMA avoids climate change when discussing plan for future storms Dems slam proposed changes to Endangered Species Act Full interview: Democratic candidate Kerri Evelyn Harris discusses her Senate campaign in Delaware MORE (D-Del.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisTrump: ‘Dems have a death wish’ Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE MORE (D-Calif.), along with Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsDem lawmaker calls on House to subpoena American translator from Trump-Putin meeting Hillicon Valley: Trump denies Russian meddling at presser with Putin | Republicans join in criticism of Trump | FCC chief rejects Sinclair-Tribune merger | Uber faces probe over gender discrimination | Social media execs headed to Capitol Overnight Energy: Koch backs bill opposing carbon taxes | Lawmakers look to Interior budget to block offshore drilling | EPA defends FOIA process MORE (D-Md.) and 31 other Democrats, sent a letter to Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Administrator Neomi Rao and Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossOn The Money: Commerce to review uranium imports | Lawmakers urge Trump not to impose auto tariffs | White House wants steeper cuts to EPA funding | Google hit with massive B fine Auto industry groups, lawmakers urge Trump administration to avoid tariffs on auto imports Census Bureau faces hiring woes amid low unemployment MORE questioning whether the Paperwork Reduction Act was violated. 

The law requires federal agencies to evaluate the potential burden that collecting particular information will place on the public and obtain approval from the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which oversees OIRA, before proceeding.

According to the OMB, information requested from 10 or more members of the public must be cleared by the agency.

“The PRA requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to review proposed information collections and ensure that agencies are minimizing the burden on the public,” the lawmakers wrote.

“It requires OMB to ensure that the information collection maximizes practical utility and public benefit and — critical in the case of the 2020 Census — protects the integrity, objectivity, impartiality, utility and confidentiality of collected statistical information.”

The Department of Commerce approved a request in March from the Department of Justice (DOJ) to add a question about citizenship status to the 2020 census. The DOJ says it needs the information to better enforce the Voting Rights Act.

But Democrats and civil rights groups fear the question will scare people in immigrant communities from responding to the census, skewing the numbers.

“Numerous experts, organizations, and local and state governments have voiced concern about the addition of a citizenship question and how it may harm the overall accuracy of the census,” the lawmakers wrote. “This includes six former Census Bureau directors, who have warned that ‘adding an untested question on citizenship status at this late point would put the accuracy of the enumeration and success of the census in all communities at grave risk.' ”

Democrats are demanding answers to eight questions, starting with when the Commerce Department plans to initiate the first public comment period by publishing a notice in the Federal Register, as required by the law.