Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing a package of new rules to promote diversity Tuesday, as some minority outside groups and lobbyists threaten to cut off funds to the Democrat Party if they see real change on this front.
Schumer will ask Senate Democrats to adopt “extensive” rules that include a requirement to interview at least one minority applicant for future senior job openings in Senate offices, Politico reports. He’s also vowed to start publishing statistics on a Senate website dedicated to diversity that hosts a resume bank for potential minority staffers.
Minority groups have pressured Democrats on this matter for years with little results, and some are now threatening to cut off funds if they don’t see real progress, reports Politico Playbook. A 2015 report found 93 percent of Hill staffers are white, and only one top Democrat staffer was black, although about a quarter of the party’s vote comes from black people. Other studies show a similar disparity, to the consternation of these minority groups and lobbyists, who believe Hill staff should reflect the diversity of the population they represent.
The so-called “Rooney rule” requiring offices to interview at least one minority applicant is seen as particularly important in getting minority staffers in the job pipeline, as some who are hired in turn will be responsible for other new hires in their office.
“We must ensure Senate be more reflective of our country’s diverse population,” Schumer said in a statement on the new rules. “Expanding the diversity initiative, following the Rooney rule and dedicating ourselves to increasing diversity are important steps we can take to help achieve that goal and better serve our country.”
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