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The Journal Gazette

  • House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., listens to an objection by Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left, the ranking member, as they debate whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents related to the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., left, makes a point with Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., as the House Oversight and Reform Committee considers whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents related to the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Attorney General William Barr, gestures as he speaks during a graduation ceremony for students of the Federal Bureau of Investigations National Academy at the FBI training facility in Quantico, Va., Friday, June 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

  • House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, D-Md., considers whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt for failing to turn over subpoenaed documents related to the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019 5:20 pm

House panel OKs contempt vote in census dispute

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- 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.