The House Oversight Committee on Wednesday announced it would postpone voting on subpoenaing the Commerce Department after the agency agreed to allow several current and former officials to be interviewed about adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The committee stated that former Senior Adviser and Counsel to the Secretary James Uthmeier, General Counsel Peter Davidson, and Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Policy Earl Comstock agreed to schedule voluntary interviews. The Commerce Department in a letter dated Monday to the committee stated it would make the officials available to the panel.
But Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), chairman of the Oversight panel, said the committee is still set to vote on holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress if they don’t hand over documents related to the citizenship question on the upcoming census by Thursday.
“Our Committee has a constitutional responsibility to oversee the Census, and we will not relinquish this responsibility because of a coordinated effort to obstruct our investigation by the Trump Administration,” Cummings said. “We have been extremely patient in waiting for these documents, which were subpoenaed more than two months ago on a bipartisan basis. If they are not produced by tomorrow, we will be forced to move forward with holding Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross in contempt of Congress.”
The subpoenas to Barr and Ross demand that they provide the committee with communications with the White House, Republican National Committee and the president’s campaign on the census question, including emails and memos.
Democrats and immigration advocates say adding the citizenship question could cause recent immigrants to not respond to the census, leading to an undercount that could affect allocation of House seats.