Ensign: The Census ‘Needs to Stay’ Under Gregg’s Control

We wondered last week what would become of the growing House GOP frustration over the White House’s plans to direct oversight of the 2010 Census, rather than leave the process to Commerce Secretary nominee — and Census skeptic — Judd Gregg.

House Republicans, no matter how ready they are to cry foul over the politicization of the Census, need at least one Senate GOPer to raise the issue during Gregg’s coming confirmation hearing. And it looks like they’ve found that senator.“It does seem, if they’re going to switch [the Census] to Rahm Emanuel in the White House, that they do want to politicize it,” John Ensign (R-NV) told me this afternoon. He’s the only senator who sits on both committees with jurisdiction over the Census flap (Governmental Affairs and Commerce), and he sounded ready to press the Obama administration.

Ensign added, referring to the president’s team: “You appoint a Republican, yet … you don’t trust him to do one [of the Commerce Department’s stated duties]? …The Census process needs to stay in Commerce.”

Here’s hoping that Gregg has a good answer prepared for when this question comes up during his hearing.