What to Know in Washington: Diversity Lacking in GOP Leadership

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House Republican leadership is largely white, male, and anchored in the South, and could hamper the party’s ability to appeal to an increasingly diverse nation. That profile stands in sharp contrast to the previous Democratically controlled chamber where minorities and women played larger roles.

Despite promises by Republicans over the decades to diversify their ranks and better reflect changing national demographics, Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and his lieutenants haven’t diversified the top of congressional committees with huge influence over Americans of all stripes on issues ranging from taxes to housing and transportation.

The lack of diversity could hinder Republicans’ ability to communicate their policies to large swaths of the nation. And it could present challenges in winning re-election in 2024, a presidential election year when a greater share of Americans will likely be voting, including minorities and women.

Republicans on average represent a district in which over two-thirds of constituents are white, according to a Bloomberg Government analysis of Census data. In comparison, whites are less than a majority of the population in the average district represented by a Democrat.

The numbers are stark: Four out of five committee heads for the next two years are white men.

By contrast, people of color and women held the majority of gavels when Democrats were in charge. Zach Cohen and Emily Wilkins break down the highlights from the data.

Happening on the Hill


  • The House convenes at 10 a.m. to debate legislation on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
  • Senators convene at 10 a.m. to consider a resolution designating January as National Stalking Awareness Month.

Senate GOP Settles Judiciary Roster Fight, Work Still Held Up

Senate Republicans are under pressure to finalize their committee rosters soon after denying a bid for both Missouri senators to serve on the Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

TikTok Ban Gains in Congress, Dialing Up Pressure on Biden

The growing clamor in Congress to completely ban TikTok in the US raises the stakes for the Biden administration, which is in the late stages of reviewing the security risks of the popular social media app.

Parents Warn of Lost Lives as GOP Probes Online Drug Sales

House Republicans are calling on social media companies to better combat rising deaths of minors who unknowingly purchase deadly drugs online — highlighting the issue in one of their first committee events of the year.

Twitter Whistleblower Says Privacy Lapses Ran Into Musk Era

A new whistleblower told Congress that Twitter continued to violate privacy and data security protections into the Elon Musk era, potentially risking legal action including hefty penalties.

House Republicans Eager to Shift Focus of Special Covid Panel

The House’s special subcommittee on Covid-19 will include more lawmakers and turn its focus to the origins of the virus and the US response to its spread, Republican members say.

  • Members will discuss a recent report on biological outbreak investigations at the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing, according to a statement. Read more.
  • Coronavirus research canceled by the Trump administration because of ties to a lab in Wuhan, China, failed to meet deadlines aimed at mitigating risks, an HHS watchdog found. Read more.

House Passes Bill to Probe US Air System That Halted All Flights

Lawmakers want to figure out what to change about the US system that caused a rare grounding of all flights earlier this month — just as the system faces another malfunction.

Fair Tax Proposal Continues Drawing Ire of Both Parties

Republicans are continuing to pull back from a bill that would abolish the IRS and enact a federal sales tax.

Warren, Wyden Push Regulator for Crypto Audit Crackdown

Two high-ranking Democrats on the Senate Finance Committee accused the US audit regulator Wednesday of ignoring the work of large accounting firms in “whitewashing ‘audit’ results for crypto firms,” jeopardizing investor confidence in public company audits.

Santos Vows to Answer ‘All the Questions,’ With a Caveat on When

Scandal-plagued New York Republican George Santos said Wednesday he’d hold a news conference to answer “all the questions” about his fabricated resume and the money that fueled his successful election to the US House in November.

House Panel Plans Hearing on Countering China Tech Competition

Lawmakers will discuss how to enhance American global technology leadership to counter competition from China at the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce hearing, according to a statement.

Politics & Influence

Treasury Denies Republicans’ Request for Hunter Biden Records

The Treasury Department refused Wednesday to provide House Republicans any suspicious activity reports it may have on foreign banking and other business transactions by Hunter Biden and other members of President Joe Biden’s family.

Trump Reinstated to Facebook, Instagram After Two-Year Ban

Meta Platforms will reinstate former President Donald Trump’s Facebook and Instagram accounts following a two-year suspension for violating the social networks’ rules.

  • Trump’s reinstated Facebook and Instagram accounts could prove to be the accelerant he needs as he tries to spark Republican enthusiasm around his so-far listless 2024 White House comeback bid. Read more.

‘Just Off K Street’ Lobbyist Sheds Instagram Alias and Day Job

The lobbyist behind the popular Instagram account that memifies Washington’s revolving door is exhausted and stepping away from the daily grind on Capitol Hill, but not before shedding her anonymity.

Around the Administration


  • The president travels to Springfield, Virginia to deliver a speech on the US’s economic progress at union Steamfitters Local 602.
  • Biden returns to the White House for a 5:30 p.m. reception for the Lunar New Year.

Biden Reversal on Abrams Tanks Underscores Focus on NATO Unity

As recently as last week, US officials insisted the M1 Abrams tank was a bad fit for Ukraine. Yet on Wednesday, Biden reversed course and offered 31 of them, saying the 70-ton vehicle would “enhance Ukraine’s capacity to defend its territory.”

Biden Officials Trumpet Early Success in Immigration Initiative

The Biden administration is touting early success in its efforts to deter illegal border crossings by ramping up enforcement and providing a legal pathway for some Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Venezuelans, though the victory lap is based on incomplete early data.

Powell to Hold In-Person Post-Fed Meeting Press Briefing Feb. 1

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who last week tested positive for Covid-19, still plans to hold an in-person press conference on Feb. 1 in Washington following a meeting of the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

Emhoff Heads to Holocaust Sites to Fight Rising Antisemitism

Over a century after his great-grandparents fled Europe to escape religious persecution, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff is returning to the sites of some of the Holocaust’s greatest atrocities.

Southwest Air’s Scheduling Targeted by Regulators After Meltdown

Southwest Airlines is the target of a federal probe into whether the carrier’s scheduling violated rules forbidding unfair and deceptive practices when it left millions stranded during the holidays last month.

US and EU Discuss Minerals Deal to Widen Scope of Green Credits

The US and the European Union are discussing a possible deal on minerals and critical raw materials in a bid to allow the EU to qualify for benefits in Biden’s massive new green investment plan, according to people familiar with the matter.

White House Criticizes Chevron’s Stock Buyback Plan

The White House called Chevron’s $75b stock buyback plan an “odd” way to show that the company was trying to increase oil production, according to a statement from spokesperson Abdullah Hasan.

DOJ Taps Kumar as Acting Head of Criminal Antitrust Enforcement

The Justice Department’s antitrust division is promoting Manish Kumar, the chief of its San Francisco office, to acting head of criminal enforcement.

US Filed Microsoft-Activision Suit to Head Off EU Settlement

The Federal Trade Commission filed its lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69 billion takeover of gaming company Activision Blizzard in December partly to get ahead of its European counterparts and dissuade them from accepting a settlement allowing the deal, according to people familiar with the investigations.

To contact the reporters on this story: Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com; Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com

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