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Census Bureau pushing ‘progressive’ agenda with its handling of poverty measurement study, Rubio says

FIRST ON FOX: The U.S. Census Bureau is dangerously close to incorporating woke political ideology into federal poverty studies should it adopt the recommendations of a politically partisan advisory panel, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., argues in a letter to the agency. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) wrote a report that was a “consensus study” directed by the Census Bureau, “to improve the supplemental poverty measure (SPM),” by adding health care and child insurance to the current threshold, which affects the national definition of “poverty,” according to Rubio.  The Florida senator expressed his concern in a May 11 letter to Census Bureau Director Robert Santos exclusively obtained by Fox News Digital, stating, “The report, ‘An Updated Measure of Poverty: (Re)Drawing the Line,’ recommends a sweeping set of changes that would prevent our government from accurately measuring poverty and would instead advance progressive political priorities.”  Rubio calls out the NAS for being biased in its proposals and in selecting which members would author the report, arguing that this action is in conflict with their “standard of ‘objectivity’.”  RUBIO ACCUSES NIH OF PUSHING BIDEN’S ‘WOKE RHETORIC’ ON TAXPAYER-FUNDED SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH He argues that despite the fact “The NAS claims to maintain strict ‘institutional standards for quality, objectivity, evidence and responsiveness,” records by the Federal Election Commission show that “several members” of the NAS panel were “members of President Obama’s former Democratic Ways and Means Staffer, and an advisor on President Obama’s transition team.”  The members have also donated “nearly $100,000 to Democratic candidates and causes and $0 to Republican candidates and causes.”  Rubio expressed that “these changes would significantly increase the complexity of a threshold that already yields more than 46,000 different definitions of poverty,” he stated. The addition of health care allowed the authors of the study to “propose the Affordable Care Act’s definition of ‘health care needs’ as the standard,” and “all households with children have a need for child care” allowed for the “force” of “center-based childcare framework and assign arbitrary monetary values to parents’ efforts to care for and raise their children, even if they choose a family-centered approach,” making it difficult to distinguish which families are truly “struggling.”  FIRST ON FOX: DAN CRENSHAW, MARCO RUBIO INTRODUCE BILL DEMANDING ANSWERS FROM CDC ON CORONAVIRUS POLICY The Republican senator slammed the study’s authors for “overstepping their commission,” and accused them of “breaking a sacred trust long defining the relationship between research experts and the policymakers.”  He goes on to state that members of Congress and the executive branch have worked with academic experts on addressing “technical matters related to measurement of poverty,” and argues that “accurate poverty measures are crucial tools” that help lawmakers determine whether “efforts to increase opportunity for families are working,” especially those with lower incomes.  The official poverty measure (OPM) threshold was created by economist Mollie Orshansky in 1965 and lawmakers have relied upon it since. They are “not purely technical instruments. They signal a national consensus about the goals of our economy and system of government,” Rubio noted.  He highlights a 1995 NAS report, pointing out that the authors back then stated that, “specifying a poverty line is the most judgmental of all aspects of a poverty measure, and we did not think it appropriate for us to make that final, ultimately political, judgment.” FEC ACKNOWLEDGES IT IMPOSES NO ‘SECURITY GUARDRAILS’ TO PROTECT AMERICANS FROM FRAUDULENT ONLINE DONATIONS Rubio claims the authors of the study have also “forsaken the wisdom of their predecessors in favor of political activism masquerading as technical expertise.” He contends that “it’s not the place for social scientists to decide which poverty measure the Federal Government should designate as our ‘principal’ measure, nor did the Census Bureau indicate this in its commission.”  The Florida Republican cited a case in which the NAS tried to defend their work, by giving a “vague” response that an “error” “does not change the conclusions” that were drawn, to a letter from “renowned poverty scholars Bruce Meyer and Kevin Corinth,” who concluded there was an “important analysis error” in a report in 2019 pertaining to “potential effects of a child allowance.”  Rubio calls for an “immediate corrective action,” that the Census Bureau should “require the NAS to assemble a new, politically balanced panel to propose an updated set of recommendations,” and “anything less would amount to a dereliction of our duty to safeguard a transparent, fair system of governance for American families, especially Americans in poverty.” The U.S. Census Bureau’s mission is “to serve as the nation’s leading provider of quality data about its parole and economy,” and their goal is “to provide the best mix of timeliness, relevancy, quality and cost for the data we collect and services we provide,” according to the government agency’s website.  The Census Bureau did not immediately respond to a request from Fox News Digital for comment.

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