House's New Leadership Makes Caucus Members Uneasy | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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House's New Leadership Makes Caucus Members Uneasy

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As House Democrats prepare to turn the reins of power back to Republicans, some caucus members worry the incoming speaker may reverse some diversity programs on Capitol Hill.

In April, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kicked off a new diversity initiative for Hill staffers. Legislative department heads are required to periodically report on the diversity of their staffs and a resume bank was established to foster a more diverse hiring pool for Congress.

Members of the House Tri-Caucus, which consists of the Black, Hispanic and Asian Pacific American Caucus, are pressuring the Republican leaders to make further advances in the program. New York Congressmember Nydia Velázquez, chair of the Hispanic Caucus, is among those being vocal about the initiative.

"It is important that we stress the issue that blacks, Latinos, women...could make an important contribution in terms of public policy, committees' work. And I guess it's a reminder that we need to continue to increase the numbers," Velázquez says.

The head of the Republican transition team says party leaders haven't reviewed the policy yet. Velázquez says she's worried the new leaders on Capitol Hill will quietly unwind the program.

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