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Boehner Charges Obama Trying to Politicize the Census

By Steve Vogel

House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) objected today to an Obama administration plan to have the Census Bureau work closely with the White House, charging that the move is an attempt to politicize the 2010 census that will determine redistricting of congressional seats.

Under the plan, the White House will oversee the director of the Census Bureau, although the agency will still formally report to the Commerce Department.

Disclosure of the plan followed President Obama's nomination this week of Sen. Judd Gregg to be Commerce Secretary. The nomination of the New Hampshire Republican has raised concerns among Latino groups eager to ensure that the nation's Hispanic population is fully counted in the next census. They complain that Gregg has not supported the Census Bureau in the past, opposing emergency funding for the 2000 census.

Boehner suggested that the White House action will be raised during Gregg's confirmation hearings.

"This action appears to be motivated by politics, rather than the interests of our country, and the burden will be on the new administration to prove otherwise during Senator Gregg's confirmation hearings," Boehner said in a statement. "The United States Census should remain independent of politics; it should not be directed by political operatives working out of the White House," Boehner added.

Rep. Darrell Issa, (R-Calif..), the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which oversees the Census Bureau, said he was concerned about "the injection of Chicago-style politics" into the 2010 census.

At a White House briefing today, spokesman Robert Gibbs denied that the White House was making a change with control of the 2010 census in mind, or that Obama was concerned about Gregg's support of the census. Gibbs said it was in keeping with past practices.

"I think the historical precedent of this is there's a director of the census that works for the secretary of Commerce, the president, and also works closely with the White House to ensure a timely and accurate count," Gibbs said. "And that's what we have in this instance."

By Eric Pianin  |  February 6, 2009; 4:45 PM ET
 
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Comments

Earth to Boehner- Ohio had a net loss of more than 260,000 jobs during Bush's terms. Can't you shut up about Obama and help Ohioans get back to work??

Posted by: hairguy01 | February 6, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

It would be nice if somebody did a little article about how this arrangement has been handled in the past, and whether or not there are historical precedents, as has been stated (under which presidents?), and how those precedents are or are not analogous.

I personally have no idea, never having investigated the question of whether the Census Bureau director is a direct report to the president or not, but I'm sure the info is out there.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | February 6, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

"'This action appears to be motivated by politics, rather than the interests of our country, and the burden will be on the new administration to prove otherwise during Senator Gregg's confirmation hearings,' Boehner said in a statement."

Where was Boehner during the last 8 years while the Bush administration raised politics above the interests of the country?

Posted by: markinirvine | February 7, 2009 1:12 AM | Report abuse

I am so tired of Senator Boehner. It seems that he is against any and everything that is not Republican driven. Please Senator,can you just try and be a little less partisan? Do you realize that for most of us you have become the poster boy for doing the same old thing in America. I just wonder where you were when the American people voted against everything that you now appear to espouse. I used to respect you as man of vision and fairness -- no longer Senator, you're just another Bush disciple that hasn't figured out the world has passed you and your cronies by.

Posted by: jett2054 | February 7, 2009 11:45 AM | Report abuse

Does anybody care what Boehner says anymore? That man has done more than any other one man to contribute to today's economic troubles. He was the one who didn't believe even his fellow Republican Paulson, when Paulson warned we need to put money into the banking system immediately to prevent financial meltdown.

Well, guess what. Thanks to Boehner, we didn't do it. Thanks to Boehner, we now have that meltdown, and it has affected the entire economy, not just high finance.

That is why from now on, I am calling this recession "Boehner's bung up".

But that is not all. As if this wasn't bad enough, now he wants to make it worse, by ignoring our crying need for economic help, making excuses for voting against the stimulus.

And yes, they really are just excuses. He SAYS he is concerned about cutting spending, but this is where he shows either his ignorance or dishonesty.

But you don't have to take my word for it. You can take the word of Nobel Prize winner Krugman. His excellent Op Ed piece at NYT says it best:

"The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge. "

NO reason we should help them push.

The Op Ed is at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/06/opinion/06krugman.html?_r=1&em

Posted by: Syllogizer | February 7, 2009 6:47 PM | Report abuse

That's a laugh. Obama trying to "politicize" the Census. If that were done, and it is hard to do, it would be a lesser evil than Republicans' success at politicizing the Department of Justice. Republicans, remember, are the people who think it is very clever to leaflet an African-American community to leave the impression that the date of the election has been changed officially to the day after the election.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | February 8, 2009 3:15 PM | Report abuse

How much longer do we have to wait until Boehner is voted out of office? He doesn't care about the people who voted for him. He only cares about extreme right wing ideology and it is time for him to go.

Posted by: Beaplum | February 9, 2009 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Ten to one his friendly ACORN will be given the task. The only reason the Democrats want the census controlled is because they want to guarantee that every illegal immigrant will be counted, registered and that will gurantee Obama's reelection and them still in control of America's downfall.

Posted by: jrbreslin1 | February 9, 2009 10:48 AM | Report abuse

I forgot to mention he will also have the Democrats vote to make Washington, D. C. a State for more Congressman and Senators to give them more control and override any opposition to their plans for America's demise

Posted by: jrbreslin1 | February 9, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

It helps when major columnists sustain our belief that the GOP is tone-deaf, John Boner is just another lying, treasonous Congressman in the great "tradition" of Atwater, Armey, DeLay, Gingrich, and Frist..., every one of them a damn-dirty LIAR.

Posted by: Hub2 | February 9, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

It helps when major columnists sustain our belief that the GOP is tone-deaf, John Boner is just another lying, treasonous Congressman in the great "tradition" of Atwater, Armey, DeLay, Gingrich, and Frist..., every one of them a damn-dirty LIAR.

Posted by: Hub2 | February 9, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

jrbreslin1 worries:

Ten to one his friendly ACORN will be given the task. The only reason the Democrats want the census controlled is because they want to guarantee that every illegal immigrant will be counted, registered and that will gurantee Obama's reelection and them still in control of America's downfall.
===========================================

Actually, illegal aliens are supposed to be counted by the Census. The Census is of the population, not just citizens.

ACORN has spent decades registering and encouraging Hispanic citizens to vote. And, yes, both duplicate and fake names have been submitted. That happens when thousands of paid and unpaid volunteers gather registration forms.

But Republicans claim this massive registration effort leads to vote fraud. There is absolutely no evidence of ineligible people voting fraudulently. The only organized election tampering is by Republicans who eliminate eligible voters from registration lists wherever possible and intimidate minority voters at the polls.


Posted by: JohnInTexas | February 9, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Earth to hairguy01: I'll bet none of Boehner's friends lost a job.

Posted by: JohnInTexas | February 9, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Surpprise, surprise! John Boehner is critical of President Obama and anything that he says, probably including "Good Morning." Boehner has become a joke. And those who cling to him will be jokes also when they are apprised of the facts of Boehner's oppposition to EVERYTHING that is not supported by the ideologues of the far right. So sad.

Posted by: LTM6463 | February 9, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

Now we have a good use for the expression "Nattering Naboobs of Negativism".

Posted by: papalarson | February 9, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

The last census supposedly only got about 62% of the total people, the rest was extrapolated from other data. So it was been far from truly accurate.

The last census also asked questions not pertaining to a Census, as per the actual written Constitutional law. Questions of headcount, sex, age, race are all that were actually written into law. Everything else like income, work, driving record, address, size of residence, were added separately by Congress & are NOT required to be answered by the Constitution, & many people think they are wrongly put into a lawful census. In fact, many people refused to answer them. Such data was requested by Congress in order to apportion federal grants to areas who needed them most, but that information could have been gotten other ways. Congress justified it by saying it would save them money. But if it was justified, why did they not amend the Constitution?

I also worry that census data can be illegally used to hunt down people, like when the Japanese were rounded up & put into Manzanar concentration camp during WWII. The census vehemently denies they ever gave over census information to the gov for locating Japanese-Americans, but in fact I have read that though they did not give exact addresses, they did provide general data such as how many Japanese-Americans were living in a city block, which allowed police to look closely for them. I disagree with this.

The census is supposed to be used for statistics only. As long as such data cannot be used against individuals, it is a good thing. I see many benefits coming from it, such as the knowledge that even people who live far out from others will be visited, noticed; such attention changes the way people think, feel. People who do not want to be noticed will be noticed, such as drug dealers, or those who spend their lives in other devious & exploitative activities who hide from the law. It also gives local people a better knowledge of what is going on in their own areas.

How will adding the White House to this process change anything? Will it make the census more fair? Obama has a history of local activism at a grass-roots level, perhaps he's noticed problems with the census methods before & has direct knowledge that will help make it a fairer & better process. If so, it will be a good thing.

Posted by: NeedToKnow | February 11, 2009 2:08 AM | Report abuse

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