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Sen. Chuck Schumer now leads the Senate Diversity Initiative. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Staff members for 16 Senate Democrats have become less diverse over the last year and only six senators have a staff that is at or above 50% non-white, according to a comparison of the 2017 and 2018 reports released by the Senate Diversity Initiative.

What's happening: The group, started by Harry Reid in 2007, releases an annual report showing the breakdown of diversity among Senate Democrats' staff members.

Only 6 of the 19 Democratic committee's staff members (like Banking and Small Business) have become more diverse. And Delaware Sen. Tom Carper is the only Democrat to have a double-digit increase in staff members who identify as non-Caucasian.

Why it matters: Democrats pride themselves on being the big tent party, but their senators have some room to grow on hiring more diverse people to work with them.

  • But there are signs that newly-elected senators are taking this seriously. Alabama Sen. Doug Jones' staff is 40% non-white — by far the highest among his colleagues.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker

Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.