Ross declines to testify before Senate Appropriations subcommittee

Commerce Secretary Wilbur RossWilbur Louis Ross33K laptops meant for Alabama distance learning are stuck in customs, could be held until October Mini-exodus of Trump officials from Commerce to lobby on semiconductors Trump census order faces logistical challenge MORE has declined to testify before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee that determines how much funding his department receives, Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyVermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism VOA visa decision could hobble Venezuela coverage Hillicon Valley: Twitter bans thousands of QAnon accounts | Bipartisan support grows for election funds in Senate stimulus bill | Senate committee advances bill to ban TikTok from federal devices MORE (D-Vt.) said Wednesday.

In a statement, Leahy said Ross declined the Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies’s invitation to appear at its annual hearing to review the Department of Commerce’s budget.

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“That’s a shame. I was looking forward to asking him why he misled me during his last appearance, one year ago, when he asserted that the Justice Department was 'the one who made the request’ to include a controversial citizenship question on the Census,” Leahy said. “That was false: It was Secretary Ross who first pressured a reluctant Justice Department. And two courts have since declared that the Secretary’s attempt to add the question was illegal.”

“Secretary Ross: You’re not an investment banker anymore,” Leahy’s statement reads. “You serve the American people, and part of your job is to be accountable to Congress and the American people. What do you have to hide?”

Ross also sought to delay his March 14 appearance before the House Oversight and Reform Committee for questioning about the citizenship question, although he eventually appeared as scheduled. The U.S. Supreme Court announced in February it will rule on the legality of adding the citizenship question to the census.

Arguments will be heard in the second week in April.

The Commerce Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.