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House GOP committee chairs named, all white men

As House Democrats are proclaiming 2012 the year of the minority because for the first time white men will not make up the majority of their caucus when the new Congress assembles in January, Republicans have a long way to go to get to that point.

House Speaker John Boehner released the proposed recommendations for chairmen in 19 of the 21 House committees - powerful posts that set legislative agenda and priorities in respective issue areas - and there's not one woman or minority on the list.

In the current congress, one Hispanic woman led a committee: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla., who is chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee through the end of the year. She's stepping down as chairman due to caucus-imposed term limits on committee chairmen.

In fact, most of the chairmen from the 112th Congress are returning to their posts in the 113th - there are only six new chairmen out of the 19 announced.

Boehner, however, did include women in his new leadership team: Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., will be the Republican Conference Chairman, the fourth top Republican in the House, Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., will be the conference's vice-chair, and Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., will act as conference secretary.  

Lessons from the 2012 House elections

Even if the House GOP wanted to load up on women and minorities in leadership roles, the lack of those demographics in their caucus poses a bit of a roadblock.

While Democrats boast 61 women among a caucus of 200 or 201, depending on some still-disputed races, Republican women will make up only seven percent of the GOP caucus next year with only 17 women among the ranks of 234 or 235 Republican members come January - that's six fewer than they had in the current Congress.

Meanwhile, on Election Day, the GOP lost one of their two current African-American members (Rep. Allen West lost) and one Hispanic member, leaving the Republicans with seven Hispanic members next Congress.

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