WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was refusing to testify on Wednesday before a House Appropriations subcommittee about his department’s 2020 budget request, saying his appearance would be a distraction, the legislative panel said.
Ross, who was scheduled to testify on Wednesday afternoon, has drawn criticism in the Democratic-controlled House over his efforts to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, an issue now before the U.S. Supreme Court.
President - Donald - Trump - Monday - Census
President Donald Trump said on Monday the census would be “meaningless” without adding the citizenship question to the questionnaire.
Although it is routine for department heads to field questions from lawmakers each year about their budget requests, Ross sent a letter to the panel on Tuesday saying he had offered to send his deputy secretary and other senior Commerce officials in his place but that had been rejected.
Subcommittee - Chair - Opportunity - Questions - Department
“Instead, the subcommittee apparently intends to recognize an ’empty chair,’ thereby forgoing the opportunity to ask meaningful questions about the Department’s budget and operations priorities,” Ross said in the letter.
“This development affirms that my appearance at this time would unfortunately distract from the Department’s important business before the subcommittee,” he said in the letter.
House - Appropriations - Committee - Copy - Letter
The House Appropriations Committee posted a copy of the letter on Twitter...
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