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Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference Ahead of Hearing on Census Citizenship Question  

May 8, 2018

 Washington, DC —Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Tri-Caucus and Oversight Democrats for a press conference on the Trump Administration’s rushed decision to add an untested new question on citizenship to the 2020 Census despite concerns raised by the Census Bureau itself and numerous stakeholders.  Below are the Leader’s remarks:

Leader Pelosi.  Good morning everyone.  It is an honor to be here with all of you and my colleagues and our friends who are helping us honor the Constitution, the oath of office that we take to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

As we gather, I want to mention what an honor it is to be here with Congressman, Ranking Member Elijah Cummings of Maryland, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, the Co-Chair of the Census Caucus.  Congresswoman Maloney of New York.  Congressman Serrano, our Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee of jurisdiction.  Congresswoman Judy Chu, the Chair of the Asian American Pacific Caucus.  Congressman Richmond who is joining us as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.  [Congressman] Jimmy Gomez who is one of the newest Members of Congress who is here.

We have other Members who are with us.  [Congressman] Lacy Clay of Missouri is here, a very active Member on the issue.  Congressman Ruben Kihuen of Nevada is with us as well.  Congresswoman Yvette Clarke of New York.  Congressman Al Green is very much with us today and I’m sure other Members will be joining us.

We will be hearing from Vanita Gupta from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.  We will probably be adding names of Members and folks who will be joining us.  We thank our special guests.

[Applause]

We are all here and happy to be joining you to talk about something very valuable, the Constitution of the United States.  Sad, though, that this has to be about the desecration of the Constitution and what they want to do with the Census.

Our Founders enshrined the Census as a pillar of our democracy.  In the Constitution, they imposed a clear duty on the federal government to provide an actual enumeration of the people in our country.

The Trump Administration is violating that clear constitutional mandate with this proposed citizenship question.  The question injects fear and distrust into our most vulnerable communities.  It will make traditionally undercounted communities even further underrepresented, financially excluded and left behind.

The purpose of the Census, it is not just to reapportion, and therefore redistrict, it is about meeting the needs of the American people.  But we have to know how many and who they are.

Every community would be affected by this change, from the coast to the heartland.  This decision starves communities of vital resources, threatening the security, safety and health of America’s families.  The President is putting his cynical political goals above the law with this clear dog-whistle tactic.

The decision not only tramples the Constitution, it goes against the views of all the living former Census Bureau directors of both parties.  It goes against the Census Bureau itself which recently released a study which advised against this change.

Democrats are taking action to protect the strong, accurate, nonpartisan Census that our democracy and our Constitution demand and we hope that this would be nonpartisan: the objective count of who are in America.

We are thankful that Representative Jimmy Gomez is introducing a resolution to compel the Administration, thank you Jimmy, to hand over documents explaining the true reasoning for this dangerous decision.  I fear the reasoning for this decision is law enforcement.  It’s just not right.

Thank you to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for holding this vital hearing and to all of our Members for their leadership to protect the Census.

And with that, it is my honor to yield to the distinguished gentleman from Maryland, a champion in so many ways in honoring the oath we take to the Constitution and also to make life better for those all across America.  He is a strong, fearless voice.  We are honored to serve at his guidance.  Congressman Elijah Cummings.