U.S. House Republicans Approve Bill to Modify Census Counting Method

The bill passed by U.S. House Republicans seeks to make changes to the census process, including the addition of a citizenship question and the exclusion of noncitizens from the official population count used for congressional representation and electoral votes.

The bill, called H.R. 7109, passed with a vote of 206-202 along party lines. It is part of the GOP’s larger emphasis on immigration matters in preparation for the upcoming November elections, in line with the campaign messages of Republicans and their presumed presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump.

House Speaker Mike Johnson highlighted the bill’s aim to limit Congressional representation for states and cities with sanctuary policies, advocating for electoral apportionment based solely on American citizens.

Proposed by North Carolina GOP Rep. Chuck Edwards, this legislation aims to make changes to the census starting in 2030, with the goal of redefining the scope of the census count.

According to Edwards, there is a lack of specific definition regarding citizenship status in the term “persons” mentioned in the 14th Amendment, even though historically the Constitution has considered both citizens and noncitizens in the population count.

In the Senate, the bill may encounter some obstacles as Democrats maintain a slim majority, despite its approval in the House. In addition, the White House has expressed its opposition to the bill, raising concerns about its potential impact on the Census Bureau’s constitutional obligation to accurately count the population.

Supporters of the bill from the Republican party claimed that regions with significant immigrant populations have an unequal impact on congressional representation, suggesting that this could potentially lead to manipulation of electoral outcomes in favour of Democrats.

Nevertheless, Democrats expressed concerns about the constitutional and practical implications of the bill, cautioning against its negative impact on immigrant communities and the potential for compromising the accuracy of the census.

Concerns were raised about potential undercounting, specifically among Hispanic populations, which could lead to skewed representation and allocation of resources.

In the end, the approval of the bill highlights the ongoing political discussions surrounding immigration policy, representation, and the integrity of the census process in the United States.

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