A: Billions upon billions, if some Republicans get their way.
Fortunately, they didn’t get their way on the Census yesterday.
The Vitter-Bennett census amendment to the Commerce, Justice, and Science appropriations bill became a moot point yesterday afternoon when the Senate ended debate on the bill in a nail-biting procedural vote of 60 to 39, which comes as a relief to advocates who worked non-stop, through hubs like DontWreckTheCensus.org, to help sink the unconstitutional, impractical, and expensive measure.
Senators Vitter (R-LA) and Bennett (R-UT) were adamant that the 2010 Census ask about the citizenship and immigration status of respondents, a change which would have cost the government millions of dollars. All Republican Senators voted to keep debate going, save Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who was absent for the vote.
If the latest antics of Senators Vitter and Bennett are any indication, no cost is too high when it comes to stoking the immigration issue for an unquenchable hard-line base. Their threat to derail our nation’s decennial census had been panned by nearly every census expert and would have cost billions of taxpayer dollars. Senate Democrats deserve credit for standing up to the extreme wing of the Republican party that continues to bring up immigration as a wedge strategy in debate after debate– like a bad broken record.