US House Republicans pick white men only

2012-11-29 13:01
US Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner arrives at a news conference to introduce the new House Republican leadership for the next Congress. (File, AFP)

US Speaker of the House Representative John Boehner arrives at a news conference to introduce the new House Republican leadership for the next Congress. (File, AFP)

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Washington - US House Republicans, ruing a presidential election loss in which they failed to attract enough women and minorities, have picked leaders for the 19 committees in the upcoming Congress, and they are all white males.

Republicans control the House of Representatives and therefore get to pick who chairs each committee in the chamber. This week in closed door votes, they chose a ranking male to fill each slot.

"I have every confidence that the chairmen selected today are up to the task of translating those priorities [of reform and job creation] into solutions Americans are counting on to get our economy moving again," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement late on Tuesday announcing the new chairs.

They include congressman Ed Royce, who will replace Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, currently the only woman with a House chairpersonship, at the head of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Ros-Lehtinen is required to step down under a Republican rule limiting members to a maximum six years as chairperson or ranking member of a committee.

Diversity rare

"Disappointed to see House committee chairmanships in the 113th Congress will not include a single woman," Democratic Senator Patty Murray posted on Twitter.

Diversity is rare in the Republican congressional membership. Of the House's 241 Republican members, 21 are women, eight (including Ros-Lehtinen) are Hispanic, two are black and one is Asian-American.

In the upcoming 113th Congress beginning in January, Republicans are down to 234 seats, and their minority numbers will shrink to 19 women, eight Hispanics, one African-American, and no Asian-Americans.

Republicans did give women some party leadership roles in the House, including Conference Chairperson Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Conference Vice-Chair Lynn Jenkins.

Five Democratic women serve as ranking committee members in the House, and the Democratic minority leader is Nancy Pelosi.

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