The House on Wednesday voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress for failing to produce documents the Oversight and Reform Committee subpoenaed as part of its investigation into the citizenship question on the 2020 census.
"I do not take this decision lightly," Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said on the House floor before the vote. "Holding any secretary in criminal contempt of Congress is a serious and sober matter, one that I have done everything in my power to avoid. But in the case of the Attorney General and the secretary, Secretary Ross, they blatantly obstructed our ability to do congressional oversight into the real reason Secretary Ross was trying for the first time in 70 years, in 70 years to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census."
Committee Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) slammed the move.
"Democrats are engaged in yet another episode of political theater in an attempt to delegitimize the citizenship question. The Administration is is complying with the Democrats' investigation," Jordan said in a statement. "Asking about citizenship is neither new nor controversial. Today's vote shows that Democrats in Congress will stop at nothing to attack the President and his Administration. The Democrats' misuse of their contempt authority today raises the question: why don't they want to know how many American citizens are in this country?"
The vote was passed 230-198, mostly along party lines. Four Democrats did vote against the bill. No Republicans voted in favor of it but former Republican Caucus member Justin Amash, now an Independent, did vote for the bill.