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Washington, DC - 12 June 2019
1. Rep. Elijah Cummings begins the voting process UPSOUND (English) "Question now occurs on the Cummings amendment which passed by voice vote. The yeas and nays are ordered. The clerk shall call the roll."
2. Various of voting
3. Various of committee as voting tally is read UPSOUND (English) "Madame clerk you may give the tally." "On this vote we have 24 yays and 15 no's." "The amendment is adopted."
4. Medium of committee's clerk
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Elijah Cummings, US Democratic Representative (Maryland):
"The census is critical to our democracy and critical to every single one of our constituents. The Constitution gives Congress the responsibility and the authority that the census is--to makes sure that the census is working as it was intended to work. That includes making sure that it is used properly to allocate federal funds, apportion legislative districts and for other purposes. We must protect the integrity of the census and we must stand up for Congress' authority under the Constitution to conduct meaningful oversight."
6. Medium of Rep. Jordan speaking
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Jim Jordan, US Republican Representative (Ohio):
"I urge members to vote against this and again remind everyone here. Why don't they want to know? Why don't they want to know something that every everyone in our district knows should be asked knows has been asked is just good common sense? I would say -- I would say you can talk -- it doesn't matter Republicans, Democrats, Independents -- you go talk. The only people who don't want to ask the question. Democrats around the country do, Republicans around the country do, Independents around the country do. The only ones who don't want to ask the question (are) Democrats in Washington. "
8. Wide of committee
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US Democratic Representative (New York):
"I want to know why it was -- why this question was magically added after we have seen that a political operative knew and detailed an intent to intimidate racial and immigrant communities for a partisan purpose, saying this will hurt Democrats and help Republicans. That's what I want to know."
10. Wide of Rep. Ocasio-Cortez speaking
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, US Democratic Representative (New York):
"Why are there so many people -- everyone from Steve Bannon to Kris Kobach having their fingerprints and their political intent all over the United States census. Why? And what do we get? Nothing. No response. Stonewalling. We're getting obstruction. We're getting a lack of answers. I don't want to issue a subpoena. Nobody wants to be in a position where you have to issue a subpoena of an administration official because we are a coequal branch of government and it should be expected that when we ask a question we get a response. But when we don't, we have to do our job."
12. Wide of committee
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Mark Meadows, US Republican Representative (North Carolina):
"I would suggest, respectfully suggest that when we rush to hold people in contempt it has a chilling effect on anybody wanting to go the extra mile to actually provide documents. If if the ultimate conclusion is is that we're going to hold people in contempt. And in this case now that executive privilege has actually been been exercised. It becomes very very troubling in terms of the cooperative ability that this committee has has long espoused."
A House committee has voted to hold two top Trump administration officials in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with subpoenas for documents related to the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The Democratic-controlled House Oversight Committee voted 24-15 Wednesday to advance contempt measures against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.
The vote marks an escalation of Democratic efforts to use their House majority to aggressively investigate the inner workings of President Donald Trump's administration.
The White House asserted executive privilege on the matter earlier Wednesday, asserting that officials had "engaged in good-faith efforts" to satisfy the committee's oversight needs and labeling the planned contempt vote "unnecessary and premature."
Democrats fear the citizenship question will reduce census participation in immigrant-heavy communities.
They say they want specific documents to determine why Ross added the question to the 2020 census and contend the administration has declined to provide the documents despite repeated requests.
The administration has turned over more than 17,000 of pages of documents and Ross testified for nearly seven hours in March.
The Justice Department said two senior officials were interviewed by committee staff and said officials were working to produce tens of thousands of additional pages of relevant documents.
The oversight panel's chairman, Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, disputed the Justice Department's account and said most of the documents turned over to the committee had already been made public.
"We must protect the integrity of the census and we must stand up for Congress' authority under the Constitution to conduct meaningful oversight," Cummings said Wednesday.