House Speaker John Boehner has finally found a woman for one of the two open chairmanships that remained after he named 19 white men to head up all the major House committees.
NBC News has learned that Rep. Candice Miller of Michigan has been tapped to serve as chair of the House Administration Committee. The appointment will be somewhat new territory for Miller, who according to Open Secrets served on the committee in 2006, but not since. She's served on the Homeland Security and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees since then.
Miller's chief responsibility on the Administration Committee is to "modernize internal management and operations" in the House. The committee also has the important task of overseeing federal elections. Its first chairman took some of the first steps to outlaw poll taxes across the country. But given the Republican party policy to support state laws rather than federal action, it seems unlikely Miller will be too busy with that aspect of her new purview.
What will the new chairwoman have to do? According to the Committee's website, her new jurisdiction will include:
- Appropriations from accounts for committee salaries and expenses
- The Library of Congress and House Library
- Statuary and pictures, acceptance or purchase of works of art
- the Botanic Garden
- Printing and correction of the Congressional Record
- Services to the House, including the House Restaurant
- Disposition of useless executive papers
One of the most controversial decisions to come out of the committee in recent years was the decision to switch away from environmentally-friendly food and beverage containers in the House cafeterias. Republicans voted to go back to polystyrene foam, better known as Styrofoam, when they took control last year.
Miller will certainly have work to do, but it's hard not to notice that Republicans are putting their only chairwoman in charge of a committee that sounds, on paper at least, a lot like an office manager. While she'll have a considerable amount of oversight of what happens in the House, it appears that she'll have considerably less control over policy that impacts the rest of the country, unlike her male counterparts already named to the other 19 chairmanships.
Miller said: "I am both humbled and honored by the confidence Speaker Boehner has shown in me to take on the Chairmanship of the Committee on House Administration. This committee has the responsibility to ensure that the House runs in an effective and efficient manner which is vital as we work to meet the many challenges facing this great nation."