On Wednesday, October 3 the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will consider the nomination of Dr. Steven Dillingham to be the next director of the U.S. Census Bureau.
The position has been vacant for more than a year since the resignation of the previous director John Thompson. The confirmation hearing will be held in Room 342 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building at 10:00 a.m.
Meanwhile, the Census Project has sent a letter to the chairman and the top Democrat of the Senate Committee urging careful consideration of the nominee while listing a number of challenges facing the Bureau in the ramp-up to the 2020 Census.
The challenges include the addition of an untested citizenship question, which threatens to diminish response rates and increase the costs of conducting the 2020 Census; a potentially higher undercount in rural areas and small towns given the cancellation of the 2017 field tests in remote areas and native reservations and the 2018 End-to-End Readiness Test site in West Virginia; cybersecurity and IT challenges the nation’s first digital decennial census poses; and a myriad of budget and operational dilemmas still plaguing the 2020 Census.
In a related development, the Department of Justice indicated it will appeal to the Supreme Court a lower court ruling in New York by Judge Jesse Furman requiring both DOJ official John Gore and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross be deposed in the plaintiff suit challenging the citizenship question on the 2020 Census form.
Judge Furman has set a November 5 trial date for the suit launched by numerous state attorneys general, civil rights groups and others.