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Eye Opener: House establishes diversity task force

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Wednesday! Following a recent study that found a serious lack of minorities on Capitol Hill, House Democratic and Republican leaders plan to tackle rank and file concerns with a series of moves.

On Tuesday leaders established a diversity task force that will sponsor training courses, build a resume bank of potential job candidates and publish regular reports on diversity efforts.

The decision comes on the heels of a February report by minority Congressional staff associations that found Latinos are rarely found on Capitol Hill payrolls. In the Senate there is just one Latino chief of staff and one committee staff director, while just 5.6 percent of House staffers are Latino.

The Committee on House Administration will lead the new efforts along with the House Chiefs of Staff Association and the Congressional Asian Pacific, Black and Hispanic caucuses, collectively known as the House Tri-Caucus. Leaders of the Tri-Caucus called Tuesday's announcement an "important first step."

"Diversity is one of America's fundamental strengths and all of our nation's communities are a rich source of exceptional talent,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement. “Drawing from this diverse pool of talent will ensure that the House of Representatives benefits from new and innovative solutions to our complex national challenges."

The February report, "Unrepresented: A Blueprint for Solving the Diversity Crisis on Capitol Hill," recommended House and Senate leaders establish diversity task forces and consider adopting something similar to the National Football League's Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority for head coaching positions.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has also called for a Rooney Rule on the Senate side as part of his efforts to increase diversity. Reid's efforts, launched in 2007 for Senate Democrats, have resulted in more minority hires.

But are task forces enough? What's an acceptable level of diversity on Capitol Hill -- or any office for that matter? Should Congress have a Rooney Rule? The comments section awaits your thoughts.

Question of the Week: When was the last time a supervisor or colleague complimented you on your work? When was the last time you told a colleague or supervisor he had executed an assignment well? Send your answers to Include your full name, home town, the federal agency for which you work and we may include your answers in Friday's Washington Post.

Labor Dept. Official Dies: James L. DeMarce, 71, director of the department's Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs Division of Coal Mine Workers’ Compensation, died Tuesday after 25 years with the office. “Jim has been the face and soul of the department’s black lung benefits program for everyone from union officials and mine workers, to members of the coal industry, to state workers’ compensation officials, to congressional staffers and to every Labor Department staff person who contributed to making this program work," Labor Secretary Hilda Solis said in a statement . "All of them relied upon Jim’s encyclopedic knowledge of every aspect of the program, his rock-solid judgment and his unflagging support for coal miners facing black lung, a terrible, man-made illness."

Cabinet and Staff News: President Obama's restricted access soars to new heights at Nuclear Security Summit (watch a time lapse of his photo ops here). On her way to Mexico, First Lady Michelle Obama visits Haiti earthquake victims. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton holds an "intense" 90-minute with the Egyptian foreign minister. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner seems to have won over Steven Pearlstein. House and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan says the administration's housing efforts are paying off. (And we're surprised by his statement?) FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski will tell a Senate committee today that FCC plans to push forward on its national broadband plan. Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry swears and talks child molesters in a Tuesday speech. Al Kamen's jampacked column reports that Norm Eisen is going to Prague, about Holder's trip to Spain and that Dana Perino still awaits Senate confirmation.

USDA says it may relax sugar quotas: The department will make "some adjustment" to the sugar quota, which has been in place for decades.

'Growing concern' over marketing tainted beef: Auditors say a program set up to test beef for chemical residues "is not accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for … dangerous substances, which has resulted in meat with these substances being distributed in commerce."

Applicants with criminal records challenge census job-screening practices: In a class action suit filed Tuesday, two applicants say they were unfairly rejected for census jobs this year because they could not provide court records of their cases settled decades earlier.

The Muppets take the Pentagon: "Sesame Street" characters stop by the Pentagon to help military families.

Three killed in Navy plane crash: The Florida-based T-39N Sabreliner just missed a house when it crashed Monday afternoon, and authorities were looking for a fourth person believed to be aboard.

GAO: Problems with security at federal buildings continue: In one case, all the guards at an unnamed facility focused on an individual who was stopped with a fake gun, only to allow another FPS inspector to waltz through the security checkpoint unstopped, even though he was carrying two knives.

U.S. mine safety agency faulted on choice of man to lead probe into explosion: Former regulators and industry experts said MSHA should have chosen someone else to investigate last week's accident in West Virginia, the deadliest in a quarter-century.

Obama speech to outline his plans for returning U.S. to space:
He'll announce plans to revise and retain some aspects of the discarded Constellation rocket and space capsule system, commit to selecting a rocket capable of carrying astronauts to deep space within five years and allocate $40 million to put together a job-retraining program for Florida space workers who will lose their jobs.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | April 14, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Congress, Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  | Tags:  Coal mining, Democratic, Government Agencies, Harry Reid, Labor Department, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Nancy Pelosi, National Football League, Services, United States, United States Congress, United States House of Representatives, Workers' compensation  
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The following needs to be passed to get America working again:

1. suspend issuing new labour visas.

2. for every foreign visa holder, an American of a different ethnicity must be hired to learn from the foreign labour visa holder.
failure to hire will deport the foreign labour visa holder and the company assessed a fine of 250,000 per occurrence.

3. in every state that has a port receiving inports, a private company will train the unemployed to check out cargo containers.
each container will be checked by a crew of 10 to 20 people to avoid any delay in offloading the cargo.
this will be funded by the importers. this company will create an infrastructure and it's own police force to insure the integrety
of the company.

4. order all corporations to foward profits back to America to be taxed.

5. in every state that has a foreign border, a company and all it's infrastructure will be hired to protect the state from intruders.
this will be paid by those that cross the border into America. this company will also search all cargo coming in by truck.

6. instead of using foreign labour visa holders to pick produce, released felons will be given the opportunity to unwind, make
some money and release the anger from being locked up.

7. for every empty lot in America, the owners shall provide onsite 24/7 security to insure the empty lot is not used for anything illegal.

8. for every empty building in America, the owners shall provide onsite 24/7 security.

9. companies shall adhere to EEOC guidelines. Failure to do so will result in fines of 250,000 per occurrence.

10. cancel all foreign social security agreements.

11. raise taxes on corporations that don't manufacture at all in the USA.

12. give tax breaks for those that do manufacture entirely in the USA.

13. invest in energy independence.

14. invest in developing our own food supply.

15. invest in the space program.

16. all federal and state work must be done in America.

17. all work involving financial transaction will be done in the USA.

18. all local goverments that are financed by property values will develop the budget and then set the property tax rate to
finance the budget.

19. term limits for politicians.

20. all politicians that fail to pass a budget will be ineligible to run for reelection.

will provide more later...

Posted by: DwightCollins | April 14, 2010 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Ah!!! Hypocrisy and political correctness, doubled with affirmative action. Our corrupt Congress at its finest.

Let's see: The SCOTUS is going to lose its only Protestant, and have SIX Catholics and THREE Jews. One Percent Ivy Incest. All Wealthy. All Urban. Not a person who has ever worked for a living.

But the House is going to can whites to have more Latinos.

Oh, great, more illegal immigration advocates. More Democratic votes.

Nancy, the Limousine Liberal.

All in favor of illegals, unions, bank bailouts, private schools, hedge funds, private equity, and Ivy League incest, say AYYYYY!!!!!!!

Democrat Liars.

Posted by: fdfdfffdfdfdd | April 14, 2010 9:22 AM | Report abuse

More diversity hogwash. Whatever happened to hiring the most qualified, regardless of race, creed, etc? If the government concentrated more on seeing that our people could receive proper education and training, the pool of those qualified would be larger. When you artificially "equalize" anything, it just lowers the bar, resulting in poorer quality.

Posted by: Lilycat1 | April 14, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse

How does the diversity of staff compare to the diversity of Congress itself? To truly lead, the non-diverse members of Congress should resign and endorse diverse replacements.

Posted by: jiji1 | April 14, 2010 5:08 PM | Report abuse

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