The House of Representatives recently selected 19 committee leaders for the 113th Congress that will convene in January. All 19 leaders chosen were white males. The Republicans, as the party in the majority, pick who holds the chair of each committee and every vote in the closed door meetings last week was given to a ranking male.
For the Republicans, it is unfortunate but they are not a party of much diversity and the range of candidates is narrow. In the House, the Republicans have only twenty female members and even fewer are minorities. In addition, since seniority is often the rule of the day in Washington, women in the GOP who were elected usually are at the back of the line for chair positions.
Candice Miller a Republican from Michigan is one of the most experienced women in the party. She was considered as an option to head the Homeland Security Commission, but only is eighth in line in seniority amongst members of that committee.
In the standing Congress, only one committee is chaired by a female and that is Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and she has decided to step down when Congress adjourns. Two committees still do not have chair elected, but neither of the two currently has any women from the Republican Party serving on it.
Nevertheless, the Republicans gave several positions of leadership within the party to females. Earlier in November, the Conference Chair, the Vice-Chair and the Secretary roles were handed to Congresswomen and the “Freshmen Representative” will go to a new member of the House Ann Wagner on the Leadership Council.
A minimum of five women from the Democratic Party will serve as senior members from the minority party on committees in the House and even more could be named.