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Democrats celebrate announcement on citizenship census question

Democrats celebrate announcement on citizenship census question
© Greg Nash

Top Democrats on Capitol Hill are celebrating the Trump administration's announcement on Tuesday that it will forgo adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Critics have pushed back on the White House's efforts to ensure its inclusion for months, arguing it had the potential to cause noncitizens and anyone else in their households to skip filling out the question or partaking in the census altogether, which could lead to an inaccurate count.

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Rep. Carolyn MaloneyCarolyn MaloneyDeJoy apologizes for mail delays while defending Postal Service changes House panel spars over GameStop frenzy, trading apps Carolyn Maloney unveils gun safety legislation package MORE (D-N.Y), the co-chairwoman of the House Census Caucus who led members in the fight against the question, said she felt an "ominous storm cloud over the census has been lifted."

The New York Democrat had sent a letter to Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossFormer Trump officials find tough job market On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE on Tuesday morning calling for the agency to begin printing the census without the question following the Supreme Court's recent ruling against the Trump administration on the issue.

“The ominous storm cloud over the census has been lifted. This Administration is finally following the law. Moving forward with the 2020 Census without the citizenship question brings us a step closer to a full and accurate count," she said in a statement.

“We owe a lot of this victory to the amazing advocacy and community groups in states across the country who worked hand in hand with us to raise awareness of the illegality and outright lies of the Administration. Today is a huge win for every American who stands for democracy and equal representation,” she added.

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds House Rules release new text of COVID-19 relief bill Budowsky: Cruz goes to Cancun, AOC goes to Texas MORE (D-N.Y.) released a statement shortly after the decision was announced, calling it "a victory for our democracy."

"The exclusion of the citizenship question from the census is a victory for our democracy and for fair representation of all communities in this country," Schumer said. "The Trump administration’s politically-motivated efforts to undermine the Constitution in this instance were so reprehensible that even the conservative Supreme Court couldn’t let them get away with it. Democrats in Congress will be watching the Trump administration like a hawk to ensure there is no wrong-doing throughout this process and that every single person is counted."

Other Senate Democrats also heaped on the praise, including Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinMurkowski undecided on Tanden as nomination in limbo Democrats ask FBI for plans to address domestic extremism following Capitol attack Progressive support builds for expanding lower courts MORE (D-Illi.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzLittle known Senate referee to play major role on Biden relief plan Bipartisan group of lawmakers proposes bill to lift rule putting major financial burden on USPS Warren to join Finance panel overseeing taxes, health care MORE (D-Hawaii) and Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerBiden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers Biden CIA pick pledges to confront China if confirmed, speak 'truth to power' Microsoft, FireEye push for breach reporting rules after SolarWinds hack MORE (D-Va.).

Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) applauded the announcement, adding Democrats need to take strides to ensure people respond to the census. 

"MAJOR NEWS: We won this one - no citizenship question on #Census2020. Now we’ve got to double down & make sure folks respond. Our democracy can’t afford an undercount," he tweeted. 

And Rep. Judy ChuJudy May ChuBiden to nominate Obama alum Ahuja to lead Office of Personnel Management Pelosi, lawmakers denounce violence against Asian Americans Why Biden's diversity efforts fall flat MORE (D-Calif.) said the announcement was a "victory for democracy," arguing the change could have impacted the amount of money appropriated for key priorities in certain areas of the country.  

"Victory for democracy! The Constitution requires a count of ALL people. Now we need your help to spread the word and encourage everybody in your community to participate in #Census2020. An accurate count impacts representation & federal $$$ for housing, transpo, health & more," she said on Twitter.

The Department of Commerce announced its intention to add the question on citizenship status last year, saying it would help the Department of Justice enforce the Voting Rights Act.

The decision sparked strong pushback from a number of states, which launched legal challenges to the addition of the question in the courts.