Senate Confirmation Hearing for President Biden’s Commerce Secretary Nominee

On January 26, the Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing to consider the confirmation of Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo to be the next Secretary of the Department of Commerce. Because the U.S. Census Bureau is located within the Department of Commerce, Governor Raimondo received several questions regarding the 2020 Census and the Bureau’s operations.

During the hearing, Governor Raimondo said she intends to “depoliticize” the 2020 Census and “rely” on the advice of Census Bureau senior staff to manage issues facing the agency. Several senators, including Senator Jon Tester (D-MT), expressed concerns about the quality of the 2020 Census data, especially given potential undercounts of hard-to-count populations in certain regions of the country. Governor Raimondo did not offer specific recommendations for improving 2020 Census data accuracy, but rather reiterated her intention to rely on the expertise of Census Bureau staff when assessing the outcome of the decennial census and its data.

In response to another question from Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI), Governor Raimondo, once again, stated she would be consulting with Census Bureau experts before determining if more time is needed to review apportionment and redistricting data before their release.  

The committee hasn’t indicated when it will vote on the Governor’s nomination or when it will proceed to the full Senate for consideration.

The Census Project posted two stories in its January 26 daily media feed regarding the hearing: