Washington DC, July 18: The US House of Representatives has on Wednesday voted to hold Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Attorney-General William Barr in “criminal” contempt for openly resisting congressional subpoenas regarding the 2020 US census.
The measure which passed by 230-198, was a reaction to the cabinet individuals’ inability to deliver documents mentioned by House Democrats as a major aspect of an investigation concerning whether the United States President Donald Trump administration has made attempts to add a “citizenship question” to the 2020 consensus that would oppress racial minorities.
Four Democrats cast a ballot against the resolution, while no Republicans upheld it. Justin Amash, an autonomous congressman from Michigan who as of late left the Republican Party, cast a ballot for the measures.
The criminal contempt vote against two cabinet members is probably going to be minimal more than symbolic since the charges would have alluded to Barr’s Justice Department.
Though, the move escalated a Democratic ambush on the US president’s stonewalling of the congressional probes.
Barr and Ross, earlier on Wednesday, urged White House speaker Nancy Pelosi to postpone the vote, stating she should “allow the constitutionally mandated accommodation process to continue”, according to Reuters news reports.
In an official statement, Ross said, “House Democrats never sought to have a productive relationship with the Trump administration, and today’s PR stunt further demonstrates their unending quest to generate headlines instead of operating in good faith with our department.”
The US Supreme Court a month ago hindered Trump’s underlying exertion to include the citizenship question. He at that point arranged an official request to add it to the registration, yet later dropped the thought.
The Democratic chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, Republican Elijah Cummings said, “Holding any cabinet secretary in criminal contempt of Congress is a serious and somber matter – one that I have done everything in my power to avoid.”
“But in this case, the attorney general and Secretary Ross has blatantly obstructed our ability to do congressional oversight into the real reason Secretary Ross was trying – for the first time in 70 years – to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census,” he added.
The development marked the first time when the Trump administration officials were held in criminal contempt of US Congress since Democrats claimed control of the US House.