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Census Bureau director to testify before Congress on 2020 census

Census Bureau director to testify before Congress on 2020 census
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The House Oversight and Reform Committee said Wednesday that the director of the Census Bureau will testify at a hearing later this month on the 2020 census, amid conflicting statements on whether the Trump administration will pursue including a citizenship question on the survey.

Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham will appear before lawmakers on July 24 to discuss planning and preparation for the census, according to the committee.

“It is time for the Census Bureau to move beyond all the outside political agendas and distractions and devote its full attention to preparing for the 2020 census,” Rep. Jamie RaskinJamin (Jamie) Ben RaskinDemocrats debate fate of Trump probes if Biden wins Congress must repeal tax breaks for the wealthy passed in CARES Act COVID-19 and the problem of presidential succession MORE (D-Md.), the chairman of the subcommittee on civil rights and civil liberties, said in a statement. 

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“This hearing will examine the current status of the bureau’s readiness for the Census next year — especially in areas where the bureau may be falling behind such as IT, security and public education,” he said.

The hearing was announced shortly after President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal watchdog accuses VOA parent company of wrongdoing under Trump appointee Lawsuit alleges 200K Georgia voters were wrongly purged from registration list Ivanka Trump gives deposition in lawsuit alleging misuse of inauguration funds MORE prompted confusion on whether his administration will seek to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, after the Supreme Court ruled last week against the question’s inclusion on the survey.

The Justice Department had said Tuesday that it would move forward with printing a version of the census that does not include a citizenship question, a decision reiterated by Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis RossConservative justices seem prepared to let Trump proceed with immigrant census plan for now Supreme Court to hear arguments on Trump administration's attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from census Central Asia is changing: the Biden administration should pay close attention MORE in a statement.

But Trump on Wednesday tweeted that officials are “absolutely moving forward” with attempts to include the question on the census, an apparent contradiction of those officials.

The Hill has reached out to the administration for clarification.

The Supreme Court last week had temporarily blocked the question’s addition to the census, finding that the rationale behind the question's inclusion — enforcing the Voting Rights Act — didn't align with the evidence presented in the case.

The justices sent the matter back to the Commerce Department, saying that officials could provide another reason for the question to be included on the 2020 census.

If the administration were to attempt to delay the census in order to include the citizenship question, it could make it more difficult to ensure that the survey is printed properly and issued on time.

The Justice Department had repeatedly cited a July 1 printing deadline in court filings about the citizenship question in urging courts to rule quickly on the matter.

The Oversight Committee has also been investigating the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 census, and voted largely along party lines last month to hold Attorney General William BarrBill BarrList of Republicans breaking with Trump grows longer Trump blasts special counsel Durham for moving too slowly Trump rants against election results for 46 minutes in new video post MORE and Ross in contempt for failing to comply with congressional subpoenas about the question.