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Representative Maxine Waters, Ranking Member, Blasts Elimination of House Office of Diversity and Inclusion

Today, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement in response to the disbandment of the U.S. House Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI) as a result of the recently passed 2024 spending bill.

“I am deeply disappointed and disheartened by the latest decision to disband the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI). Since its establishment in March 2020, ODI has been instrumental in fostering a congressional workforce that mirrors the diversity of the American people. From entry-level roles to senior positions, ODI has been pivotal in recruiting talented individuals from diverse backgrounds who have worked tirelessly to facilitate the smooth operation of Congress and advance crucial legislation. Let me be very clear, without a diverse workforce in Congress we miss out on perspectives and lived experiences that are urgently needed to help shape policy that enhances the quality of life for all Americans – not just some.

“During the 116th Congress, under my leadership, I established Congress’ first ever Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee, in part to add greater scrutiny to the financial services industry and to ensure that the diversity of our witnesses reflected the growing diversity of our country. After the establishment of the Subcommittee, the House Tri-Caucus Witness Diversity Initiative also began collecting diversity data, which was later taken over by ODI at the start of the 117th Congress. In its work, ODI has continued to move the needle forward in ensuring that witnesses who testify before Congress are diverse in race, gender, nationality, disability status, sexual orientation, age, and military status. ODI’s work has reaffirmed what we have already known for so long: diversity matters, and we can no longer just pay lip service. While we have made major progress towards a more diverse Congress, Republicans gutted the Diversity and Inclusion subcommittee upon entering this Congress, and with the latest elimination of ODI, they are sending an even clearer message that their war on DEI is just getting started.

“Rest assured that despite these ongoing attacks, Committee Democrats and House Democrats will continue to do whatever it takes to protect DEI. I want to commend the excellent service of ODI Director, Dr. Sesha Joi Moon and her staff. Their exceptional work has been the driving force behind the achievements of ODI and Congress is so much better because of it.”


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