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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Two Black congressional staff associations published an open letter Friday calling for more diversity, better conditions and "a stronger college-to-Congress pipeline" for staffers at Capitol Hill.

Why it matters: While Congress swore in its most racially and ethnically diverse congressional class in history this year, congressional staffs remain "overwhelmingly white," the letter says.

  • “We believe that if the United States Congress wants to hold steadfast to its representative form of government, then congressional staffers hired to construct and inform legislation should be reflective of the United States’ population.”

The big picture: The U.S. population is roughly 13% Black, compared with only 3% of Senate staffers, per the letter.

  • Zoom in: Thirty-eight percent of the staff members for Senate Democrats identify as non-Caucasian — up from 35% in 2020, according to data from the caucus reported by Axios' Stef Kight in July. Sens. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) have the least-white staff teams.

The letter, written by the Congressional Black Associates and the Senate Black Legislative Staff Caucus, outlined steps for change:

  • Strengthening college-to-Congress pipeline by fostering relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Black Student Unions (BSUs) and other diverse organizations on college campuses.
  • Offering better career opportunities to Black staffers so they can "develop and display their talents" and be promoted to higher positions.
  • Providing better pay to all staffers to offset the high cost of living.
  • Ensuring lawmakers hire diverse staffs that reflect their constituencies.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Three female senators criticize "sexist" NYT coverage of Sinema's fashion

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (R), D-AZ departs from the Capitol in Washington, DC, on October 28, 2021. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Three women in the Senate on Friday published a letter to the editor in the New York Times criticizing the paper for four pieces related to Senator Kyrsten Sinema's dress.

Driving the news: "We cannot imagine The Times printing similar pieces on the fashion choices of any of our male colleagues," Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) wrote in the letter.

6 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in U.S.

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, cautioned on Sunday that the COVID-19 Omicron variant will "inevitably" be found in the United States.

Driving the news: Fauci, Biden's chief medical adviser, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos on "This Week" that U.S. officials will meet with colleagues from South Africa later on Sunday to try to determine the severity of the cases, as countries scramble to learn more about the variant.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Dems fear supply-chain blame

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As supply-chain kinks drive up prices and disrupt holiday shopping, Democrats are scrambling to show action and deflect blame.

Why it matters: With their party controlling both the White House and Capitol, vulnerable Democrats worry supply-chain snafus will hurt them in next year's midterms.