Yesterday, the House of Representatives picked the leaders of 19 committees for the upcoming 113th Congress yesterday and every one of them is a white male. As the majority party, the Republican caucus gets to pick who holds each chairmanship in their House and every vote in this week's closed door meetings went to a ranking male.
Unfortunately for the party, they don't have a lot of diversity candidates to choose from. There are only twenty female Republicans in the House and even fewer minority legislators on that side. Also, because seniority often rules the day in Congress, the GOP women who have been elected are usually at the back of the line for appointments. One of the more experienced Republican women in the House, Candice Miller of Michigan, was considered a option to lead the Homeland Security Committee, but she's currently eighth in seniority among committee members.
In the current Congress, there is only one female Republican committee chair, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and she is stepping down when the term ends. There are two committees that have yet to elect a chair for next, but neither one currently has any Republican women serving on it.
Senator Patty Murray (a Democrat) expressed her frustration while drawing attention to the disparity online:
Disappointed to see House committee chairmanships in the 113th Congress will not include a single woman. -PM speaker.gov/press-release/…— Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) November 27, 2012
However, the Republicans did give several other leadership positions within their party to women. Earlier this month, the roles of Conference Chair, Vice-Chair, and Secretary were given to Congresswomen and a new member, Ann Wagner, will be "Freshmen representative" on the Elected Leadership Council. At least five Democratic women will serve as the ranking member (the senior member from the minority party) on their committee, though several more could still be named.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.