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US Rep. Gregg Harper expresses...

US Rep. Gregg Harper expresses reservations about Census strategy

By: Magnolia Tribune - February 13, 2009

U.S. Representative Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) joined Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other ranking Republicans in highlighting the creation of a Census Task Force created by Boehner and the Republican Conference.

The announcement of the task force was made during a press conference held today in the U.S. Capitol at which Congressman Gregg Harper and Ranking Member Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) were named as the Committee on House Administration’s designees to the task force. U.S. Representative Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) has been appointed to head the task force.

“The creation of this task force is necessary to ensure a fair census for every American citizen,” said Congressman Gregg Harper. “America deserves real counts – not estimates or extrapolations. Every citizen has the right to be counted in the census that will take place in 2010.”

The task force is comprised of the three ranking members of the House Committee Oversight and Government Relations, the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on the House Administration. Additionally, one member from each of the three committees has been designated to the task force.

The 2010 Decennial Census has far reaching implications. The results of the census will impact the drawing of district lines, apportionment of members to the House of Representatives, and the distribution of monies to state and local governments.

The House Republicans created this task force after an unprecedented decision by the President to bring the Census Bureau under the oversight of White House staff. The Obama Administration has ordered the Director of the Census Bureau to report directly to the White House, which many in Congress see as a blatant political power grab and partisan politics at its worst. Historically, the Census Bureau and its employees have been free from even the appearance of any political influence.

“At a time when Republicans and Democrats should be joining together in the spirit of non-partisanship, this unconstitutional power play by the Obama Administration will inevitably corrupt the census process,” said Congressman Gregg Harper. “Politically manipulating census figures will result in unfair congressional representation.”

If the White House takes over the census, the President’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, would control the operations of the 2010 count. In 2006, as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, Emanuel was quoted by USA Today saying, “it’s a little late” for political parties to mount redistricting efforts. The court’s decision, he said, would make the potential for bare-knuckle gerrymandering all the greater after the 2010 Census. “If you think redistricting is always partisan and political, which it is,” he said, “it’s going to be on steroids this time.”

US Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) Press Release

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Magnolia Tribune

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