New House committee chairs reflect GOP’s concept of diversity

WASHINGTON – Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, demonstrated the difficulty his party has with the concept of diversity yesterday when he announced the names of the 19 people who will chair all of the major committees in the new Congress.

They are all white men and most of them are millionaires.

Rep, Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the defeated vice presidential candidate, will continue to chair the powerful House budget committee, despite having exhausted the six-year term limit. The GOP lifted the rules to allow him to continue in that post.

They did not change the rules however when it came to a woman. The one female chair that House Republicans have, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, has to step down because her term is up.

The failure to include even a single woman or member of a minority group surprised many in the Capitol here who noted they would have expected something different from a Republican Party that had just been so soundly rejected by women and minority voters.

“One would think House Republicans would learn from their mistakes,” a senior Democratic aide told the Huffington Post. “But they elected a roster of committee chairs that represent their ranks: old white men.”

Democrats have not yet announced who will be the ranking members of their party on each of the 19 House committees but at least nine or 10 of the 19 are expected to be women, African American or Latino.

Either Reps. Nita Lowey nor Marcy Kaptur, Democrats of N.Y and Ohio respectively, is slated to take the most powerful Democratic House Committee post on the Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.), an African American, will take over as the ranking Democrat on Financial Services with Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., who is also African-American, maintaining his top slot on the Judiciary Committee.


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.