The U.S. Census Bureau released data last month showing that a handful of states lost a congressional seat while others gained representation due to changes in population over the past decade.
Since the final apportionment numbers did not match initial estimates, however, some Republican lawmakers are demanding to know if the Biden administration oversaw any “political interference” in the matter.
“Fair, accurate, and independent”
According to Fox News, more than a dozen GOP lawmakers are seeking clarification, as detailed in a letter to Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.
On Friday, U.S. Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the panel’s ranking Republican member, sent the request for more information to Raimondo, who is ultimately in charge of the Census Bureau.
Along with various other GOP lawmakers who signed the letter, Comer expressed “concerns about the apportionment count released by the Census Bureau, and whether the process which derived the count was fair, accurate, and independent from any White House interference.”
Noting a delay in the release of the information, the Republicans posed “questions about the methodology and the role the Biden White House may have played in releasing these numbers, especially as the results differ from evaluation estimates released mere months ago in ways that benefit blue states over red states.”
As for why the members are pointing a finger at the Biden administration, initial questions posed to the Census Bureau regarding its data had reportedly been redirected to the White House.
“Yet the statute is clear: it is the Secretary of Commerce who reports the apportionment count to the President, not the other way around,” the letter asserted.
The referral of questions to the White House “is entirely inappropriate,” the Republicans argued, “and raises questions about the level of White House involvement in the process.”
Somewhat ironically, many Democrats raised their own concerns that former President Donald Trump put his thumb on the scale during the census count last year. As the House Republicans noted, however, Biden overturned his predecessor’s policy of excluding undocumented immigrants from the apportionment count, which could have benefitted states with “sanctuary” cities and large populations of such individuals.
Furthermore, the letter noted how “strikingly different” the final census numbers were from initial estimates released late last year, asserting that the “trend calls into question whether there was any political influence with the apportionment results released by the Census Bureau.”
Republicans concluded with a request for documents, including internal communications, that contain relevant information. For its part, the bureau has blamed its delayed release of information on the COVID-19 pandemic and has dismissed the differences between estimates and the final count on typical errors in interpretation that actually improved the process in the long run.