If confirmed, Dillingham would serve the remainder of a term that extends through 2021. He would oversee the next once-a-decade census that will determine how many seats in Congress each state receives and how hundreds of billions of tax dollars are distributed.
With planning for the 2020 census in an important phase, lawmakers from both major parties had been urging the president to nominate a new director as soon as possible.
“His leadership is essential to ensuring the Census Bureau counts each person with accuracy, security and professionalism, and in a fashion worthy of the world’s greatest democracy,” said Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
The decision by the Trump administration to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census has resulted in several lawsuits and provoked outrage from minority groups who view it as an attempt to reduce participation in communities with large numbers of immigrants. Democratic lawmakers are certain to question Dillingham on steps he will take to encourage full participation in the count.
“Dr. Dillingham needs to reject the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question and if he does not, I believe the Senate should reject his nomination,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., co-chair of the House Census Caucus.
Dillingham currently serves as director of the Office of Strategic Information, Research and Planning for the Peace Corps. Before that, he oversaw the government bureau that is the primary source for criminal justice statistics and the bureau that compiles and analyzes data on the nation’s transportation systems.