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Republicans push resolution to kill office that promotes diversity in congressional staff

Currently only 18% of top House staffers are people of color.

By Oliver Willis - August 03, 2023
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Alex Mooney
Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV) attends a campaign rally at the Westmoreland Fair Grounds in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, May 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

Congressional Republicans on July 27 introduced a resolution that would eliminate the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The mission of the office is to increase diversity among congressional staffers to reflect the diversity of the U.S. population.

The sponsor of the legislation, H.Res. 628, is Rep. Alex Mooney (R-WV).

“Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) offices have become the latest woke liberal method of injecting cultural Marxism into the workplace,” Mooney said in a statement announcing the resolution. “These offices start with the premise that white people are inheritably racist and oppressive. The House of Representatives does not need bureaucrats promoting this divisive ideology.”

In an interview with Fox News, Mooney said the office is “the latest woke liberal method of injecting cultural Marxism into the workplace.”

The legislation currently has 14 Republican co-sponsors: Reps. Troy Nehls (TX), Claudia Tenney (NY), Jeff Duncan (SC), Bob Good (VA), Thomas Tiffany (WI), Brian Babin (TX), Andrew Ogles (TN), Chip Roy (TX), Lauren Boebert (CO), Jack Bergman (MI), Mary Miller (IL), Andy Biggs (AZ), Ralph Norman (SC), and Barry Moore (AL).

Other Republicans, including former President Donald Trump and Gov. Ron DeSantis, who are both running for president, have also attacked diversity programs. House Republicans included a provision in the version of the National Defense Authorization Act that they recently passed that would abolish the Pentagon’s Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

The House office was created in 2019 at the beginning of the 116th Congress after Democrats won the House majority in the 2018 midterm elections.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion helps prospective candidates for congressional staff positions apply for jobs, offering such training as mock interviews as well as resume reviews. The office also conducts studies on diversity in the House and hosts events focused on diversity.

The demographics of congressional office staff are considerably less diverse than the overall U.S. population.

According to an October 2022 report published by the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a nonprofit organization, 18% of the people in top staff positions (chiefs of staff, communications directors, policy directors, and staff directors) were people of color. While this was up from the 13.7% identified in the same survey in 2018, in the 2020 U.S. census, 40% of the population identified as people of color.

The Joint Center report showed that Democrats had 14.8% of their top staff positions held by people of color, while Republicans only had 5.1%. Among the 308 white members of Congress, only 7.4% had a person of color as their chief of staff.

Experts say legislators need more diversity among their staff to help craft laws that better respond to the needs of their constituents.

“Communities of color aren’t just pawns to mobilize on Election Day. They have real issues that need to be realized in policy,” LaShonda Brenson, a senior fellow at the Joint Center, told Politico in 2021.

The Republican attacks on diversity are coming during a period when the country is becoming more diverse. In the 10-year period between the 2010 and 2020 censuses, the number of people in the United States who identified themselves as white alone decreased by 8.6%, while the population of other racial groups – Black, Asian, Latino – grew. The largest increase over the same time period was among people identifying themselves as multiracial.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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