House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced who will chair all of the major House committees in the next Congress. And it turns out they all have something in common besides party affiliation: they’re all white men.
There isn’t a single woman or minority included in the mix of 19 House committee chairs announced Tuesday — a stark reality for a party desperate to appeal to women and minorities after both groups overwhelmingly rejected Republicans just weeks ago in the presidential election. The one female committee chair that House Republicans currently have, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), is stepping down because her term is up. While there are still two lower-tier House committees awaiting a chair assignment — the Ethics Committee and House Administration — neither committee has any women or minority members.
At least one Senate Democrat was quick to point out that something is missing from the Republican lineup.
“Disappointed to see House committee chairmanships in the 113th Congress will not include a single woman. -PM,” tweeted Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who included a link to Boehner’s press release announcing the chair posts.
A House Republican leadership aide declined to comment on the lack of diversity in the party’s committee leadership. The aide noted, though, that GOP leaders just put four women in party leadership. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash) is the new House Republican Conference Chair, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kansas) is conference vice chair, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) is conference secretary, and Rep.-elect Ann Wagner (R-Mo.) will represent freshman members in party leadership.