Critics charge U.S. Congress is too white

June 26, 2009 at 8:47 AM
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WASHINGTON, June 26 (UPI) -- Though the U.S. president is of African-American descent and minorities reportedly wield more power in Washington, some critics charge Congress is too white.

That's what a group of frustrated members, lobbyists and aides claim as they press for more minority representation among Congressional leaders, The Hill, a Washington political publication, says.

Critics say just two Senate chiefs of staff are minorities. In the lower chamber, only five white House lawmakers have black chiefs of staff and only four blacks are staff directors of either House or Senate committees.

They urge the application of the so-called Rooney rule, named for Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney, credited with significantly increasing the number of black coaches in the National Football League.

The Rooney rule requires that NFL teams interview at least one minority candidate when they are filling head coaching vacancies.

Before the 2003 rule was established, 6 percent of NFL coaches were black. Now the figure is 22 percent. This month, the NFL extended the Rooney rule to teams' front offices, where the ranks of executives remain overwhelmingly white.

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