By Philip Rucker
President Obama has decided to have the director of the U.S. Census Bureau work directly with the White House, the administration said today, a move that comes as the Census Bureau prepares to conduct the 2010 census that will determine redistricting of congressional seats.
Under the Bush administration, the Census Bureau director reported to the commerce secretary. Obama is adding oversight of the director by senior White House aides, but keeping the bureau itself under the umbrella of the Department of Commerce, White House spokesman Ben LaBolt said.
After Obama nominated a Republican, New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg, to head Commerce, Latino advocates voiced concern about him overseeing the politically delicate task of determining the nation’s population. But LaBolt suggested Obama’s changes to the organizational structure have been long in the making.
“From the first days of the transition the Census has been a priority for the president, and a process he wanted to reevaluate,” LaBolt said in a statement this afternoon. “There is historic precedent for the director of the Census, who works for the commerce secretary and the president, to work closely with White House senior management, given the number of decisions that will have to be put before the president. We plan to return to that model in this administration.”
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