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Tri-Caucus Chairs Urge Democratic Leadership to Restore, Strengthen Office of Diversity & Inclusion

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Washington, April 9, 2024 | comments

Yesterday, the Chairs of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) wrote to Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08), House Administration Ranking Member Joe Morelle (NY-25), and House Appropriations Ranking Member Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) on restoring the full independence of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) and strengthening its work in future Congresses.


“As Chairs of the Congressional Tri-Caucus – composed of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus – and on behalf of the diverse constituencies we represent, we write to you about restoring the independence of House Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) in future Congresses, and robustly strengthening and supporting its mission and work,” wrote CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu (CA-28), CBC Chair Rep. Steven Horsford (NV-04), and CHC Chair Nanette Barragán (CA-44).


Created in the 116th Congress, ODI assisted approximately 2,678 jobseekers and conducted over 1,526 consultations with employing offices, helping approximately 730 jobseekers to land congressional careers. Its services were designed to help address barriers for job seekers and advancements once employed on the Hill. As a 2022 ODI study on barrier analysis showed: when compared to external benchmarks, 64% of House jobs have disproportionately fewer Black staffers, 58% have disproportionately fewer Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish staffers, and 57% have disproportionately fewer Asian American staffers.


“ODI’s work has helped tremendously to improve the congressional workplace through its mission and work in Member services, research and data analytics, and professional development for all Congressional staff. Despite ODI’s record of service, Republican lawmakers are so eager to score political points by eliminating all diversity and inclusion programs that they undercut a non-partisan office that dozens of their own Members have used to identify highly qualified candidates that they went on to hire. At the beginning of the 118th Congress, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy issued a directive to eliminate the Office of Diversity and Inclusion,” continued the lawmakers. In the face of Republican extremism, we are incredibly grateful for your unrelenting leadership in fighting against their assaults on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and supporting ODI during negotiations of this past appropriations package. We were relieved to see in the Fiscal Year 2024 Legislative Branch Appropriations that non-partisan staff and critical functions of ODI were ultimately protected and were moved to be housed under the Chief Administrative Officer.”


“At the same time, we know the ODI operated at its best when it was fully dedicated to advancing equity for our Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, Black, and Hispanic communities, along with other underserved communities, including women, veterans, and individuals with disabilities. We therefore stand ready to work with House Democratic Leadership and future Committee Chairs to restore the existence and robust funding of the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the 119th Congress and beyond,” concluded the lawmakers.


Click here for the full letter or read below.

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