Nov 29 2012

Boehner Appoints 19 Extreme Right White Guys To Head House Committees

Republican House majority leader John Boehner has appointed 19 of the 21 heads of House committees that oversee legislation. His choices have come under fire for being uniformly white with the possible exception of Representative Darrell Issa who is of Lebanese descent. All nineteen are men.

At a time when the GOP is reeling from Presidential and Senate losses, partly as a result of unpopularity among non-whites and women, the demographics of the committee heads are particularly symbolic.

Of the nineteen, only 6 are newly named, with the rest returning from earlier terms. The sole woman who headed a committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, retired from her position as chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Boehner does not have much of a choice of women and nonwhites among elected GOP officials – only 17 of the more than 230 Republicans in the House are women, 7 are Latino, and one is African American. Meanwhile, Democrats are able to boast 61 women and a plethora of African Americans and Latinos among its ranks in the House.

In addition to the racial and gender homogeneity of the House Committee chairmen is their extreme rightwing politics. For example, Texas Republican Lamar Smith, a climate change denialist, has been chosen to head the Science, Space, and Technology Committee. And California representative Ed Royce, considered a darling of some anti-immigrant and islamophobic organizations, has been chosen to lead the Foreign Affairs committee.

House committees are the incubators of legislation – the place where bills are either nurtured or killed before making it to a general vote, and as such committee chairs wield significant political power.

GUEST: Adele Stan, is the Washington bureau chief for AlterNet

Read her writings online at

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “Boehner Appoints 19 Extreme Right White Guys To Head House Committees”

  1. Kathrynon 29 Nov 2012 at 10:07 pm

    As long as the most qualified are appointed, that’s fine. If you have an issue with the qualifications, spit it out. I’m tired of these ‘token’ appointments, ala Susan Rice. Unqualified.

  2. Dan Buskirkon 29 Nov 2012 at 10:34 pm

    Qualified? That’s just it though isn’t it: 19 wealthy white men are not qualified to represent the diverse interests of our populace.

  3. david bon 30 Nov 2012 at 1:35 am

    Right wing women are under qualified, conservatives are the minority… The people have spoken, Obama is the President. 98% deserve the tax cut, the 2% will help pay off our debt faster… sounds good to me