Michael Macagnone

Census Bureau seeking driver's license info, admin records
Effort will help officials comply with president‘s order to publish citizenship data on U.S. residents

The U.S. Census Bureau wants even more details on American residents, requesting states to provide driver’s license and administrative records to add to a trove of federal data being collected by the agency in its census count.

Officials plan to use the administrative information to help record people who might not otherwise respond to next year’s decennial survey, as well as to comply with President Donald Trump’s order to publish data on the citizenship of U.S. residents.

More diverse Pennsylvania and Florida districts might shape 2020 politics
Both states have grown in population, and many of their congressional districts have become more racially and ethnically diverse.

Pennsylvania and Florida, two swing states President Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016, may look substantially different next year, as new census data shows them trending away from his base.

Both states have grown in population, and many of their congressional districts have become more racially and ethnically diverse. However, that growth hasn’t been uniform and that may have implications for local politics in 2020 and beyond.

Justices debate overtaking Congress on LGBTQ protections
Justice Stephen Breyer called the role of Congress ‘the elephant in the room’ during arguments on three cases

The Supreme Court grappled Tuesday with whether and how far to get in front of Congress in determining whether a 55-year-old civil rights law covers discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Justice Stephen Breyer called the role of Congress “the elephant in the room” during arguments on three cases about how to apply Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in a country that has changed drastically since its initial passage. The cases hinge on if the court decides whether discrimination “on the basis of sex” includes whether the person is attracted to the same gender or identifies as the opposite of what they were assigned at birth.

Missouri lawmaker seeks probe of GOP’s census look-alike mailings
RNC ‘district census’ fundraising solicitations raise concerns of potential confusion over 2020 count

Mailings the Republican National Committee sent to Montana and Missouri residents have riled officials there, prompting one House Democrat to call for an investigation into fundraising solicitations he says are designed to confuse people about the decennial census.

Styled as the “2019 Congressional District Census,” the mailing includes a questionnaire and letter from RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel soliciting a donation of up to $1,000. But the mailings are likely to confuse residents before the start of next year’s census, argued Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay of Missouri.

Diversity fuels biggest population growth in country’s suburbs
Shift could affect the political landscape locally and nationally

Increasing ethnic diversity has fueled population growth in the country’s fastest-expanding congressional districts, particularly in suburban Texas, according to census data released Thursday.

Concentrated in areas outside major cities in the South, the growth represents a trend across the nation: The suburbs are growing younger and including more minorities, potentially changing the political landscape both locally and nationally.

House Democrats look beyond funding in census preparations
Trump’s protracted fight over citizenship question has fueled partisan suspicions

Frustrated by President Donald Trump’s preparations for the 2020 census, House Democrats are increasingly looking for ways — inside the Beltway and out of it — to fill perceived gaps in reaching the nation’s hardest to count.

Trump’s protracted fight to add a citizenship question to the census has fueled suspicions among Democrats about a myriad of other agency decisions, ranging from how quickly it is spending money to how many local offices the agency will open. They fear Trump’s interference could undercount the communities they represent — particularly immigrants and minorities — when its results are used to divvy up political representation and federal funds, as well as serve as a base for business decisions and research.

Census falling further behind in hiring outreach staff
Partnership specialists are critical to reach hard-to-count populations

Census officials continue to fall behind their goals for hiring local outreach staff, a critical component in promoting the 2020 census among the hardest-to-count populations in the country, agency officials told an advisory committee.

While several aspects of the preparations, including address verification, are on or ahead of schedule, the U.S. Census Bureau said it remains more than 200 people short of its goal of hiring 1,500 local partnership staff ahead of next year’s count. The hiring problems have come as the agency ramps up for the 2020 enumeration that will be used to determine the number of congressional seats for each state, how federal funds are allocated, and to structure economic surveys.

Trump closes in on background check decision, key senators say

President Donald Trump may soon announce whether he will support a yet-to-be-written Senate bill expanding background checks for commercial gun sales, a bipartisan group of senators said Wednesday.

Trump spoke for about 45 minutes by phone with the trio of members at the center of background check talks. Sens. Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., and Christopher S. Murphy, D-Conn., told reporters the president discussed options for securing a potential deal.

House Judiciary panel to dive into gun debate upon return
Background checks, assault weapons ban, ‘red flag’ laws and more could be on the table

The House Judiciary Committee will meet next week to jump-start legislation addressing firearm ownership, an issue that has languished before Congress for more than two decades but faces new urgency in the wake of recent mass shootings that rattled the country.

Supporters of the legislation have scrambled over the summer recess to cobble together support and advance various proposals before the political will withers after recent shootings in Gilroy, California; Dayton, Ohio; and El Paso, Texas. A rampage in the West Texas community of Odessa over Labor Day weekend added to the concern. House Democrats have struggled with how far to push in the face of a GOP-controlled Senate and White House.

Trump wants to lift restrictions on how long it can hold migrant families
Pelosi accuses White House of ‘seeking to codify child abuse’

The Trump administration is moving to end a court settlement that limits its ability to hold migrants who cross the border into the United States, the Department of Homeland Security announced Wednesday, potentially allowing for indefinite detention of children with their parents.

President Donald Trump and his administration for years have chafed at the limitations resulting from the settlement, known as the Flores agreement. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said Wednesday the new policy would get rid of an interpretation of Flores that has “substantially caused and continued to fuel” a migrant crisis at the southern border.

Oversight blasts DOJ for siding with Trump in subpoena fight
The filing pushes back on a strategy to stymie congressional probes by limiting what can be sought from the executive branch

The House Oversight and Reform Committee criticized the Justice Department for proposing “astounding and novel” limits on congressional investigations Tuesday as a means to win a lawsuit over a subpoena for eight years of President Donald Trump’s financial records.

Oversight’s filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit pushes back on a Trump administration strategy to stymie congressional investigations by limiting the scope of what they can seek from the executive branch.

Trying to conceal tax returns, Trump sees political coordination in subpoenas
President accuses New York officials of working with House Democrats to damage him

President Donald Trump says New York Attorney General Letitia James is “closely coordinating with House Democrats in a joint effort to obtain and expose” the president’s tax returns and financial information.

The allegation came in a filing Monday in federal district court in Washington as Trump amended the July 23 lawsuit he brought to block James and Michael R. Schmidt, commissioner of New York state’s Department of Taxation and Finance, from providing the president’s state tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.

Census Bureau defends ‘efficiency’ changes ahead of 2020 count
Avoids details on gathering citizenship data through administrative records

Census officials on Monday defended plans for next year’s count that they said would make it the “most efficient ever," as Democrats pressed the bureau to do more to ensure hard-to-count populations are not overlooked.

The latest salvo from Democrats came from members of the Illinois congressional delegation, led by Richard J. Durbin, the Senate minority whip, and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, along with the rest of the state’s Democratic representatives. In a letter, they urged greater investment in outreach like Questionnaire Assistance Centers to avoid missing minorities, children, rural residents and the urban poor.

DOJ attorney in census citizenship dispute to leave department
John Gore ‘plans to spend time with family before deciding his next steps after DOJ’

The Justice Department official at the center of the push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census has left the department, a person familiar with the decision confirmed Friday.

John Gore, who served as the Civil Rights Division’s principal assistant attorney general, authored a letter on enforcement of the Voting Rights Act that the Commerce Department used to justify adding a citizenship question to the census.

Census question may be dead, but Trump’s backup plan could still reshape political map

President Donald Trump surrendered his legal fight earlier this month to ask about citizenship on the upcoming census, but his administration is marching forward on a Republican strategy that could upend the way legislative districts are drawn nationwide to the benefit of the party.

Trump nodded to policy issues such as health care and education as reasons he issued a July 11 executive order for the government to compile citizenship information in a different way. And he accused “far-left Democrats” of being determined to “conceal the number of illegal aliens in our midst.”

2020 census affects more than representation, billions at stake
The census influences more than $800 billion in federal government spending and business decisions

Less than 300 miles from the Arctic Circle, Toksook Bay, Alaska, has about 600 people, a dozen or so streets and averages a high of 12 degrees in January, the month the 2020 census will begin there.

The responses among Alaska Natives in Toksook Bay and throughout the state could have a huge impact on the future of their community, not just in terms of political representation but whether they have a roof over their heads.

House holds Barr, Ross in contempt over census subpoenas
Vote of 230-198 on a contempt resolution came after weeks of conflict between the administration and House Oversight

The House voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress over the chamber’s probe into the administration’s now-abandoned attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The 230-198 vote on a contempt resolution came after weeks of conflict between the administration and the House Oversight and Reform Committee over subpoenas related to the addition of the question. President Donald Trump dropped it from the census last week after the Supreme Court blocked the plan, calling the administration’s rationale for it “contrived.”

Senators press census chief on cyber, outreach fears
After citizenship question abandoned, worries continue

The Census Bureau’s chief on Tuesday pushed back on concerns about cyberattacks and outreach in rural areas in testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

In the first congressional testimony by a bureau official since the Trump administration dropped a citizenship question from the 2020 census, the issue was only briefly addressed. Senators instead focused on the implementation of the count next year, which will be the first to rely primarily on online responses. That change has raised fears of cyber intrusions and technology shortfalls.

Trump steers again toward Supreme Court with census citizenship executive order
Opponents of adding question on citizenship to census say they’ll see the president there

President Donald Trump’s expected executive order adding a citizenship question to the census Thursday will meet a swift legal challenge, one the administration appears ready to fight to the Supreme Court again.

Trump said Thursday morning he would have a news conference on the census and immigration and a source familiar with his plans confirmed he will issue an executive order to add the question in response to a temporary block imposed by the Supreme Court in late June.

Spending, legal hoops ahead for Trump on census question

Warming up for the next round of the fight over adding a citizenship question on the 2020 census after setbacks in the courts, the Trump administration’s latest effort faces numerous hurdles in court that could spill out into Congress’ annual spending talks.

The administration has been coy about how it will try to relitigate the question, and Attorney General William Barr told reporters Monday the “pathway” to reinstate it may be unveiled later this week.