GOP’s Beef with Census Goes Beyond Obama’s Latest Chicago Nominee

PJ Media –

WASHINGTON – Statistician John Thompson looks like a shoo-in to serve as the next director of the U.S. Census Bureau, but House Republicans are endeavoring to make the post he’s likely to assume significantly smaller in scope.

The nomination of Thompson, who spent more than 25 years with the bureau before leaving for the private sector 11 years ago, was announced by President Obama on May 23. A confirmation hearing is scheduled before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on July 9. If approved by the full Senate, Thompson will succeed Robert Groves, who resigned, and serve until Dec. 31, 2016.

“I think the president has made a wise choice in nominating Dr. John Thompson for this important position,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), the committee chairman. “Dr. Thompson has a strong background in statistics and issues related to the census and if confirmed, he will bring a wealth of experience and service to his new role as director of the Census Bureau.”

The Census Project, an informal coalition of organizations that support the agency’s activities, encouraged lawmakers to quickly confirm Thompson “so that the bureau can continue serious planning for Census 2020.”

Thompson held several posts during his tenure at the Census, including serving as associate director for the 2000 decennial census and chief of the Decennial Management Division. He left to become executive vice president and later president and chief executive officer of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, an organization perhaps best known for its involvement in the Florida Ballot Project, examining about 180,000 uncounted ballots in the contested 2000 presidential election in behalf of several news organizations. NORC’s participation occurred before Thompson joined the organization.

The Census, mandated by Article I, Section II of the U.S. Constitution, conducts a national population count every 10 years – the next will occur in 2020 – that is used in the reapportionment of seats in the House. It also conducts numerous other surveys that are used to allocate over $400 billion in federal funds every year.

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