On July 15, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) held a hearing to consider the nomination of Dr. Robert L. Santos, the Biden Administration’s nominee to lead the U.S. Census Bureau (see previous coverage). In his opening statement, Santos, the current president of the American Statistical Association, described himself as a “a scientist, executive level manager, policy researcher, and long-time friend and supporter of the Census Bureau and the entire federal statistical system” and noted that while he would be serving in a politically appointed role, he is “not a politician.” COSSA joined over 30 stakeholder organizations in endorsing Santos’ nomination.
During the hearing, Santos fielded questions about improving the morale of career staff at the Census Bureau after the Trump Administration’s handling of the 2020 Census, how the lessons from the 2020 Census can be applied to planning for the next decennial census, best ways to reach non-English speakers, maintaining a robust sample size for the American Community Service for smaller geographic areas, revisions to standard race and ethnicity questions, and states’ needs for 2020 Census redistricting data, which was delayed by the pandemic and is scheduled to be released in August. A vote on Santos’ confirmation has not yet been scheduled.
A full webcast of the hearing is available on the HSGAC website.