CBC Conducts Diversity Survey of House Committees

Posted April 6, 2009 at 2:48pm

The Congressional Black Caucus is conducting a survey on House diversity, asking committees to report how many African-Americans they have on staff.

The survey will provide the first information on House diversity since 2004, when a Congressional Management Foundation survey found that only about 9 percent of House staffers were African-American and almost 80 percent were white.

In an April 3 letter, CBC Chairwoman Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) asked each House committee to report the total number of employed “professional staff— and “other staff,— along with the number of African-Americans, by April 30.

The information, she wrote, will help “determine the extent of racial diversity at the committee staff level— in the House.

“For years, the CBC has encouraged the employment of African-American staff at all levels and this information will assist us in evaluating the progress that we have made,— she wrote.

For decades, the House’s diversity was tracked every two years as part of a compensation survey that covered everything from staffer salaries to vacation policies.

But the diversity portion of the survey was removed in 2006, and Chief Administrative Officer Dan Beard canceled a contract for a 2008 compensation survey because of “budget constraints.—

That didn’t sit well with members of the CBC, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, who argue that up-to-date race and gender information is necessary in efforts to increase the diversity of the House.