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GOP Holding Up Census Nominee

By Ed O'Keefe

Robert M. Groves will have to wait a little longer to take the reins at the U.S. Census Bureau: Senate Republicans have placed a hold on his nomination, delaying his confirmation with less than six months before the 2010 Census begins.

Robert Groves
Robert Groves, President Obama's nominee to lead the U.S. Census Bureau.

Officially, Republican aides say Groves lacks unanimous consent from the Senate, which in plain speak means there's a hold, but it's unclear if just one or several senators have objections.

Under Senate rules, any senator can hold up a nomination for whatever reason and can choose to do so anonymously.

Groves served as the bureau’s associate director from 1990 to 1992 and currently is director of the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center. He cleared his Senate confirmation hearing with no objections from Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), the only GOP lawmaker at the hearing.

By Ed O'Keefe  | June 5, 2009; 12:09 PM ET
Categories:  Census, Confirmation Hearings, Congress  
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The Census has already begun - the 1st phase was in April/May as enumerators updated the national address list & mapspotted each address with the troublesome HHC's (hand held computers). The second phase will be contacting all the OLQs, i.e., Other Living Quarters - prisons, nursing homes, college dorms, etc. This was supposed to start in mid-June but has been indefinitely delayed. The Bush admin. screwed up again by botching an attempt to improve the Census process. How else? With a $600 million contract to a private company - now at a cost override of $1.3 billion - and the HHC's this paid for are not working as designed. Their major function was to allow data to be entered directly during the follow up, in-person questioning of the estimated 30-35% of people who do not return their questionnaires by mail and are tracked down for face-to-face interviews. Since they don't work, the census takers will be back to paper and pencil.
The Senate had suggested allowing on-line filing of Census returns, similar to the IRS tax filing system, but Bush's administration turned that down. The original census was carried out by federal marshals on horseback, took 18 months and was reported to George Washington. We haven't improved the process that much.

Posted by: PennLawyer | June 5, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

How can a government be expected to function effectively when key appointments can be held up indefinitely by any Senator for any reason (or no reason at all)? If Senators can't be trusted to act in a timely manner in good faith, it's time to change the procedures.

Posted by: ahumbleopinion | June 6, 2009 12:38 AM | Report abuse

Drink a pail of pee, Rethugs, and die screaming.

Posted by: cythera45 | June 6, 2009 1:17 AM | Report abuse

The horses are gone, but the horse sh*t remains.

Posted by: dickdata | June 6, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

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