House Oversight Hearing With Wilbur Ross Focuses On Census Citizenship QuestionAfter fending off requests to testify in lawsuits over the census citizenship question, Wilbur Ross goes before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Thursday.
Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, has agreed to appear voluntarily before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on Capitol Hill to testify about preparations for national head count.
"We have had many very serious questions for Secretary Ross since we invited him to testify several months ago, and we will finally have a chance to ask him these questions — under oath — at our hearing," said the committee's chair, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), in a written statement before Thursday's hearing.
Ross' testimony comes as the 2020 census is entangled in an almost year-long legal battle over the controversial question about U.S. citizenship status. That question asks, "Is this person a citizen of the United States?"
Two federal judges have ruled that Ross' decision to add it to census forms was unlawful and blocked the administration's plans for the question from moving forward.
Cummings, however, has emphasized that the committee is carrying out its authority to investigate in order to find out why Ross pushed to get a citizenship question on the census.
The Commerce Department's public affairs office has not responded to NPR's multiple requests for comment about the hearing.
Ross testified last year to lawmakers that the Justice Department "initiated" the request for the question because the agency wants the responses to help it enforce Voting Rights Act provisions against discrimination of racial and language minorities.
But the Trump administration's attorneys at the Justice Department fought vigorously to keep Ross from having to sit for questioning under oath. The DOJ appealed Furman's order for Ross' deposition to the Supreme Court, which temporarily shielded Ross from questioning.