Rep. Jim Jordan unloaded on Democrats during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing Wednesday, asking what they were so afraid of in asking a citizenship question on the 2020 Census.
The top Republican on the House Oversight Committee called out his Democrat colleagues for wanting to push through a hearing before the Supreme Court rules on the issue.
“Why don’t they want to know? That’s the fundamental question: why don’t the Democrats want to know how many citizens are in the country?” the Ohio Republican asked.
“Go ask any person anywhere across this country, walking down the street, walk up to them and say ‘hey, do you think on the census we should ask how many citizens are in the country – ask are you a citizen?'” Jordan continued. “Every single person you will encounter will say, ‘well, yeah, of course we should ask that.’ Their next question will be, ‘aren’t we doing that already?'”
Jordan noted that the question has been asked for decades but now Democrats don’t want to know the answer, citing the hearing and efforts by Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings to follow through on holding Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt over documents related to a Trump administration plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
DOJ warns Cummings: Back off on Barr or Trump will invoke executive privilege over subpoenaed docs https://t.co/xHry7IE8bi
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 12, 2019
“How’d we get here today? How’d we get to the point today where we’re going to hold the Secretary of Commerce, the Attorney General of the United States in contempt because we don’t want to ask a question that everyone in the country thinks we’re already asking and, in fact, we are,” Jordan continued.
Pointing to the issue being before the Supreme Court, Jordan accused Democrats of hoping to “use this committee’s oversight power to create a controversy around this issue to try to impact the Court’s decision.”
“To that end, Democrats now want to hold, as I said, both the Secretary of Commerce and the Attorney General in contempt because of an alleged lack of cooperation with the Democrats’ request for information,” the congressman said, arguing that the “facts stand in stark contrast” to their claims that they are not getting the information they requested from the federal agencies.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd had threatened in a letter to Cummings on Tuesday to ask President Trump to invoke executive privilege over subpoenaed documents if the House Oversight Committee went ahead with its vote.
Both Boyd and Ross had argued that the committee had already been given materials by their departments and officials have provided testimony, but Cummings countered in a letter to Barr that though they “have produced thousands of documents, many are heavily redacted, non-responsive, or already public.”
The DOJ made “no commitments” to deliver certain documents and “no counter-offer with respect to these documents,” Cummings noted in his letter, adding that the Department’s letter “seems to make a threat.” He announced earlier in the hearing that the panel would reconvene later Wednesday to vote on the contempt charges, even as President Trump moved ahead with invoking executive privilege over all the documents the panel had subpoenaed.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 12, 2019
Calling out the “partisan investigation,” Jordan contended that the Trump administration has produced 31,000 pages of documents on the issue as well as providing testimony from agency officials. He slammed the committee’s contention that the administration is “stonewalling” as “ridiculous” and something that “doesn’t jive with the facts.”
“Contempt of Congress is a powerful tool and it should be used responsibly,” Jordan admonished. “This is just another last-ditch attempt by Democrats to muddy the waters around the citizenship question in a desperate hope that it will influence the Supreme Court’s consideration of this issue.”
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