Horn Subcommittee to Examine Race, Ethnicity Measures

U.S. House of Representatives
105th Congress
Press Release – 22 April 1997


CONTACT: Matthew Phillips (202) 225-6676
John Hynes (202) 225-5147
RELEASE: April 22, 1997

HORN SUBCOMMITTEE TO EXAMINE RACE, ETHNICITY MEASURES

WASHINGTON, D.C. — (April 22, 1997) — U.S. Representative Stephen Horn, R-CA, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology, announced today a hearing on how the Federal Government measures race and ethnicity.

Potential changes to the Federal Government's current measures of race and ethnicity include adding a multiracial category or other new categories and allowing a person to be classified in more than one category. The question of how to define race and ethnicity will be especially important for the upcoming census in the year 2000. The Office of Management and Budget determines how all Federal departments and agencies, including the Census Bureau, measure race and ethnicity. OMB is currently considering revisions to the race and ethnicity classifications it uses.

"This issue has far-reaching legal, financial, and statistical implications," Horn said. "Apportionment of funding under certain benefit programs, for example, as well as our ability to track everything from diseases to educational performance by racial and ethnic groups would be affected. Application of civil rights laws and legislative redistricting would also be affected. Given the profound impact of these race and ethnicity measures and the wide range of strongly held views on this issue, Congress needs to give this matter its serious and careful consideration."

Wednesday's hearing is the first of a series of hearings on defining race and ethnicity to be held by the Subcommittee on Government Management, Information, and Technology. The next hearing, scheduled for May 21st, will focus on the perspective of groups taking an active interest in this issue.

The hearing will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, April 23 in room 2154 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Invited witnesses include: Sally Katzen, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Management, Office of Management and Budget; Martha Farnsworth-Riche, Administrator, Bureau of the Census; Bernard L. Ungar, Associate Director, Federal Management and Workforce Issues, General Accounting Office; Norma Cantu, Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Department of Education; Edward Sondik, Director, National Center for Health Statistics, Department of Health and Human Services; and U.S. Representatives Thomas Petri (R-WI) and Tom Sawyer (D-OH).

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