tv House Oversight Reform Hearing on 2020 Census - Part 1 CSPAN December 4, 2020 4:16am-4:34am EST
census and the gao report on how the coronavirus pandemic and changes by the trump administration may change the results. the house heard from the manager of the government accountability office strategic issues team. this hearing is two hours, 40 minutes. the government accountability office strategic issues team. this hearing is two hours, 40 minutes. chair: good morning and thank you all for being here. today's hearing comes at a perilous time for the 2020 census. troubling, there were reports indicating career officials at the census bureau warned the trump about significant problems that will delay the delivery of census data to late january or early february. after these reports became public, the director of the census, dr. steven billingham, issued a public statement confirming problems were found, but provided no details.
these developments were particularly troubling because they were not reported to our committee before we write about them in the press or before the census director made his public statement. committee has jurisdiction, but nobody from the trump administration informed us about these problems or delays. for these reasons, the committee wrote a letter to the census bureau november 19. we asked for documents career officials prepared describing these data problems and the resulting delays. we also requested documents repaired for the department of commerce, including the commerce secretary. but in response to our request, they gave us nothing, absolutely nothing, not even a single page. were due a week ago, and the census is in its most critical stage.
yet the trump administration seems to believe they owe congress nothing, no documents whatsoever. last week, we held a bipartisan staff re-think with the director and his top aides. hadn'td them why they turned over any of the documents we were seeking. in response, they pointed to theetary ross's office at commerce department and explained they collected documents and sent them to secretary ross's general counsel counsel, but they were "not cleared for release." not,our staff asked why they indicated secretary ross's office was withholding the going -- due to "on ongoing litigation." unacceptable. of litigation is
not a valid reason to withhold documents from congress. in addition, the administration claimed that they are withholding these documents because of ongoing litigation raises serious questions about whether they are seeking to conceal information, not just from congress, but from the judiciary. on monday, the supreme court heard oral arguments in a case involving the presidential order to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census count. time, the trump administration was blocking these documents from coming out. nevertheless, despite the trump administration's obstruction, our committee has now been able to obtain three of these internal documents from another source. these internal documents not
only confirmed that the census bureau will take until at least late january to resolve these data problems and produce a complete and accurate account, but that these problems are more serious than first reported. these problems could affect state population counts, impact representation in congress, and reduce funding states argue -- states are due under a host of federal programs. problemsive, 11-step
was recommended to fix the and as i said, the trump administration tried to block our committee from seeing these documents. we had to get them from another source. the administration has claimed publicly that they are addressing these problems by bringing in more resources, but we do not have the information we need to check these claims. the trump administration is preventing our committee from verifying the scope of these data problems, their impact on the accuracy of the census, and the time career professionals need to fix them. for these reasons, the committee sent a letter yesterday to wilbur ross, secretary of commerce. we get him until next wednesday to produce a complete and of the documents
we requested last month. consent to place this letter in the record and that it be made part of the hearing record. so ordered. these documents should be made available to congress, to the judiciary if necessary, and to the american people so that we all have confidence in the census numbers going forward. but so far, the trump administration has tried to keep this information secret from everyone. ifour letter explains, secretary ross fails to comply with our request voluntarily, he will receive a friendly subpoena. the constitution charges keyress with responsibilities over the census and we need these documents to ensure that is complete and accurate -- that it is complete
and accurate. our witnesses today are experts in a to science, census operations and the use of census data by cities and states to provide services and improve the lives of the american people. i look forward to hearing their expert opinions about the new documents we obtained, as well as other significant challenges faced i the census. high-ranking -- i recognize ranking member comber. ranking member: german maloney, we appreciate you following up on the 2020 census. let me say unequivocally -- chairman maloney, we appreciate you following up on the 2020 census. let me say unequivocally, the census is counting everyone in the united states regardless of citizenship status paired the census has already counted 99.8% of households in the united states. the remaining unresolved
addresses will be resolved by long-standing statistical methods. but democrats still seem uninterested in these facts and instead are launching partisan attacks on the 2020 census to undermine public confidence in the results. today's hearing is supposedly about the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 census, but as an our last hearing, no census bureau witnesses have been invited to testify. it is unclear to me what we expect to learn today. during transcribed interviews this year, census bureau staff made clear the bureau was committed to a complete and accurate census. they are working to deliver on this commitment. the bureau has made clear that the issues it has encountered in completing the current phase of the census are few in number, percento only 63/100s
of the date of the census, do not call into question the quality of the data and are on par with past census. bureau officials confirmed they are working as quickly and efficiently as possible with all available resources to finalize a complete and accurate census. while there likely will be a short delay in delivering apportionment results, that isn't because of problems with the completeness and accuracy of census data, it is because of a delay resulting from activist litigation. courteek, the supreme heard oral argument in a challenge to president trump's directive to the secretary of commerce to report and apportionment count that excludes nonlegal residence in the united states, including illegal immigrants. that directive was very important to ensure the sanctity of our nation's elections and
equal representation under the including illegal immigrants in the count for representation to congress dilutes the representation of all americans who vote in elections, and makes a mockery of our basic principle of one person, one vote. thege us all to focus on task at hand, supporting the census bureau's extraordinary efforts to complete and accurate 2020 census count, not undermining of the confidence in its work product. given that we have already held hearings on the census and the bureau is on track to complete a n accurate count, our time would be better spent getting to the bottom of whether the integrity of the 2020 election was compromised. during the 2020 election, we witnessed blanket mail-in ballot in several states and a dramatic rise of absentee ballots and
others, leading to errors and irregularities. a letter to the election assistance commission inspector general asking them to investigate why the california secretary of state used $35 million of taxpayer money to pay joe biden's main campaign advisory firm. i would like to know why taxpayer money was used in a questionable manner, but unfortunately, the inspector general has yet to take action. judiciaryr 18, committee member jim jordan and asked chairman maloney and chairman nadler to hold hearings on election irregularities. why aren't we holding those hearings today instead of a hearing on the democrats' campaign against 2020 census?
have found ample time to undermine president trump and further their agenda, but they won't hold a single hearing on election integrity and protecting the sanctity of the ballot box? these priorities speak for themselves. with that, i yield back. chairman maloney: our first witness today is managing director of the strategic issues team at the government accountability office. robert will hear from santos, vice president and chief methodologist for the urban president-elect of the american statistical association. chiefjoseph salvo, demographer of the population division nothing new york city department of city planning. finally, we will hear from jeff landry, attorney general for the
state of louisiana. the witnesses will be an muted we can- unmuted, so swear them in. please raise your right hand. you swear or for the testimony you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> i do. >> i do. the recordloney: let show the witnesses answered in the affirmative. your written statements will be made part of the record. you are now recognized for your testimony. chairwoman maloney, ranking member comer, members of the committee. before you to appear to discuss progress of the 2020 census. i have the great pleasure of presenting the work of my colleagues who have been supporting the congress on
census issues for many years. the 2020 census was undertaken under extraordinary circumstances. andesponse to covid-19 related executive branch decisions, the bureau made a series of late design changes that affected the way the bureau did its work at the time it took to do that work. these changes also introduced risks into the quality of the census that the bureau of census on congressional apportionment and redistricting. professionals at the census bureau are deeply committed to providing an accurate and complete census count for apportionment, redistricting and other purposes. my bottom line is that it is important both for transparency and to ensure public confidence in the quality of the census that the euro share key indicators -- that the bureau share key indicators of
completeness and accuracy in near real time as it releases apportionment and redistricting data. today, we are issuing the first in a series of planned reports that will address the operations of the 2020 census and address lessons learned in planning for the 2030 census. that report, entitled 2020 census," the census bureau needs to address data concerns from recent design changes, calls for evaluation of data quality, including operational successes of the bureau response to covid-19. we are pleased the department of commerce agreed to the recommendation, underscoring commitment to a complete and accurate census. recently, the american statistical association and the census scientific advisory committee issued
whatmendations, including the bureau of documents knows about population counts it applies to the president and congress, and the recognition that in the recommendation congress accepted. censusement indicates quality indicators the bureau should consider providing. the bureau believes based on long-standing actresses that the self response from households provides the most accurate census data. however, the bureau necessarily at times uses alternative data collection methods when it is unable to obtain census data directly from a household. alternative methods include proxies that would be neighbors and other knowledgeable looking at the rates the bureau used each of these methods would give insight into the census. rates the nationwide
provide quality and it's important we take a look at those. however, very importantly, the bureau needs to examine the rates at which it used each of these alternative methods, and by key demographic groups to provide a more complete picture. members of the committee, this completes my statement. i'd be pleased to respond to any questions you may have. thank you so much. >> thank you. we're going to take a brief recess because we have a vote. >> thank you and good morning. it is an honor to assist you today.
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