Pelosi Working on Diversity Initiative in House
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday that House leaders are working on a “broad diversity initiative— after a recent survey revealed the lack of diversity among House staffers.In a statement, House Administration Committee spokesman Kyle Anderson said Pelosi has been working to improve diversity since becoming Speaker in 2007. “Speaker Pelosi and House Leadership have placed a high priority on expanding diversity within the U.S. House of Representatives,— he said. “During her tenure as Speaker, substantial planning and discussion have taken place and, within the next few weeks, we will announce a broad diversity initiative which focuses on ensuring that the House at all levels reflects the growing diversity of our nation.—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) started the Senate Democratic Diversity Initiative two years ago, creating a system for attracting and hiring minorities in Senate offices. But no statistics on Senate diversity are available, so it is difficult to gauge its success.But the 2009 House Compensation Study — released last week — shows the chamber has made little improvement in increasing diversity over the last six years. For example, about 87 percent of chiefs of staff were white in 2009, compared with 89.5 percent in 2003.The survey also covers the average salaries of various staffers and the benefits offered by Member offices, among other things. It is usually released at the beginning of each Congress, but Chief Administrative Office Dan Beard initially canceled it for “budgetary reasons.— When he finally released it on Dec. 29, he sent it exclusively to chiefs of staff, CAO spokesman Jeff Ventura said. Ventura added that the report is available from the CAO’s office upon request.