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House Needs to Enhance Diversity, Tri-Caucus Says

The Congressional Tri-Caucus sent a letter to the chairmen of the House Administration Committee and the House GOP transition team Tuesday asking them to preserve and enhance the chamber’s staff diversity program in the 112th Congress.

The letter to House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) and GOP transition head Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.) calls the initiative an important priority for the nation.

“The House-wide staff diversity initiative, with outreach and recruitment activities, is an important part of ensuring equal employment opportunities to candidates from all backgrounds and diverse representation of our multi-faceted nation within the House staff,” the letter reads. “We urge that the initiative not only be preserved, but that it be provided with the resources necessary to execute its important charge.”

The letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Mike Honda (Calif.), Barbara Lee (Calif.) and Nydia Velázquez (N.Y.), who chair the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, respectively.

The Members note that the diversity program was developed in consultation with Speaker-designate John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Administration ranking member Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), who is the presumptive chairman.

“We welcome any recommendation Members want to share with the transition team,” said spokesman Brendan Buck. “We’re glad they’re engaging in the process.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) introduced the diversity initiative in April. It tasks House officials with developing a résumé bank, creating educational resources for Member offices and requiring legislative branch agencies to write reports on the state of their diversity. The House Administration Committee oversees the program, and members of the Tri-Caucus serve on an advisory panel.

A spokesman for Brady was not immediately available to comment.

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