01:52 GMT11 April 2021
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    The House Oversight Committee has voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for refusing to comply with subpoenas concerning the adding of a citizenship question to the upcoming 2020 US Census.

    By a 24-15 vote, the committee advanced the question to the full House of Representatives, which will also vote on whether to hold the two Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress for defying panel subpoenas.

    Of note is the inclusion of Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) among the "yes" votes, a Republican and one-time ally of US President Donald Trump who recently left the right-wing Freedom Caucus over his belief that Trump committed impeachable offenses during the Mueller investigation, a position championed by the Democrats.

    If the House votes similarly, it will enable a federal court to compel the two officials to comply with the subpoena and surrender the documents.

    Earlier Wednesday, Trump asserted his Executive Privilege to avoid surrendering relevant documents. Congress has sought supporting documentation behind the administration's decision to add a question about citizenship to the 2020 census. The government says it needs the question to better enforce the Voting Rights Act, but critics argue it will be used to suppress the votes of generally-liberal-leaning immigrants and lead to the gerrymandering of congressional districts, the Washington Post noted.

    "The Trump Administration has demonstrated repeatedly that it is willing to disregard the Constitution, defy decades of clear precedent, and invent frivolous new arguments to delay and obstruct Congress' oversight authority, and Attorney General (William) Barr and Secretary (Wilbur) Ross are complicit in this cover-up," committee chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in a Monday statement.

    "Both Secretary Ross and Attorney General Barr are refusing to comply with duly authorized subpoenas from Congress", Cummings said. "Because they are in contempt of Congress, on Wednesday, the Committee will vote to move forward to enforce our bipartisan subpoenas".


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    contempt, Gerrymandering, subpeona, immigrant voting, vote, census, documents, US House Oversight Committee, William Barr, Wilbur Ross, Elijah Cummings, Donald Trump
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