West Virginia Representative Alex Mooney (R-WV) has introduced a bill aiming to eliminate the House of Representatives’ Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The bill, which has no Democratic co-sponsors, was introduced on Thursday and has yet to see further action in Congress.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion was established as one of the first acts of the 116th Congress, which convened on January 3, 2019, following the 2018 Primary Election where Democrats took the majority of the House of Representatives. The office was created in response to the most diverse Congress ever elected until the 2020 midterms.
Mooney’s bill comes in the wake of the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which eliminated diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) offices at the Pentagon. Mooney argues that “The House should abide by the same standards we set for federal agencies across the government,” hence his resolution to eliminate the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Public discourse around diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been contentious and highly partisan in recent years. The bill seems to echo these tensions.
Mooney’s office stated in a press release, “These offices start with the premise that white people are inherently racist and oppressive. The House of Representatives does not need bureaucrats promoting this divisive ideology.” Mooney, a Senate candidate, has also referred to DEI efforts as “the latest woke liberal method of injecting cultural Marxism into the workplace.”
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is responsible for directing and guiding House employing offices to recruit, hire, train, develop, advance, promote and retain a diverse workforce. Notably, their social media accounts only follow Democrats.
The bill has several initial co-sponsors, including Representatives Troy Nehls (R-TX), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Bob Good (R-VA), Thomas Tiffany (R-WI), Brian Babin (R-TX), Andrew Ogles (R-TN), Chip Roy (R-TX), Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Jack Bergman (R-MI), Mary Miller (R-IL), Andy Biggs (R-AZ), and Ralph Norman (R-SC).
In response to the bill and recent gaffes by Republicans on race, Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, stated, “They’re proving every single day why diversity, equity, and inclusion is needed.” He encouraged Republicans to contact the Office of Diversity at the U.S. Capitol and benefit from the training and resources they provide.
ODI Director, Sesha Joi Moon, stated, “Currently, ODI, which maintains relationships on both sides of the aisle, remains committed to its mission to advance a representative and qualified workforce by ‘putting the people in the people’s house.'”
The recent passage of the NDAA that eliminated DEI offices at the Pentagon might embolden supporters of the bill. However, it could also mobilize opposition, given the criticism voiced by the likes of Rep. Steven Horsford and ODI Director, Sesha Joi Moon.
Given the office’s origin in a Democratic-controlled Congress and the lack of Democratic co-sponsors for the current bill, it seems unlikely that the bill would garner much support from Democratic representatives.