House Republicans will have one woman committee chair

November 30, 2012

Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) (washingtonpost.com)

Looks like a woman will chair a House committee after all.

After taking heat for so far not appointing any women to lead a House committee — just as Republicans are trying to find a better way to appeal to women and minorities — Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Friday that Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) will lead the House Administration Committee.

As Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) prepares to step down as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — the only woman currently holding such a slot — news reports deftly noted this week that House Republicans had yet to name any women to helm a panel.

So Boehner turned to Miller, a five-term lawmaker who lost a bid to lead the House Homeland Security Committee earlier in the week. Miller gets the admin job even though Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) had more seniority and was angling for the position.

In a statement, Boehner said Miller “has a big job ahead” leading a committee responsible for the nuts and bolts of House operations —  including orientation for new members and office assignments.

Beyond committee assignments, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) is now the fourth-ranking House Republican as chairman of the House Republican Conference and other more junior female lawmakers hold less significant leadership and whip jobs.

House Democrats are expected to have five women as ranking members on committees. In the Democratic-controlled Senate, women chair at least six permanent or select committees.

Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow Ed O’Keefe on Twitter: @edatpost

Ed O’Keefe is a congressional reporter with The Washington Post and covered the 2008 and 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
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Ed O'Keefe | November 30, 2012