U.S. House to Create a New Office of Diversity

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a Rules Package creating a new Office of Diversity and Inclusion and requiring the appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer and the development of a diversity plan.

Washington, DC – The passage comes after the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies spent weeks working with the House Democratic Diversity Initiative, the Committee on House Administration, and several personal offices, congressional caucuses, and staff associations on incorporating staff diversity into the House Rules Package.

The Joint Center recommended that the 116th Congress adopt several provisions that were included in the Rules Package, such as the creation of a House Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the appointment of a Chief Diversity Officer.

The Rule requires that the diversity plan include “the development of a survey to evaluate diversity in House offices and disclose demographic data of staff to the public. The Rule’s requirement that the diversity plan include “policies to direct and guide House offices to recruit, hire, train, develop, advance, promote, and retain a diverse workforce” could include the Joint Center’s best practice recommendations that offices interview at least one person of color for every opening (the Rooney Rule), create a long-term diversity plan with clear goals, and adopt unconscious bias training for staff with evaluation and management responsibilities.

“The establishment of a House Office of Diversity and Inclusion is a historic moment for the Congress and reflects the years of work of many individuals and organizations,” said Joint Center Black Talent Initiative Director Don Bell. It is my hope that the leaders of the Senate take similar action in the new Congress.”


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