More than a dozen House Republicans proposed a bill late last week that would eliminate the Treasury Department’s new Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, a group Treasury formed to boost its “equity efforts,” but which Republicans say is a “grotesque” attempt to impose a broad diversity quota on the economy.
“Right now, hard-earned taxpayer dollars are being spent by the Treasury Department to promote the Biden administration’s exclusionary and racist DEI ideology,” said bill sponsor Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., referring to the administration’s support for a “diversity, equity and inclusion” ideology.
“The president is so focused on pitting people against each other on the basis of race, he has turned a blind eye to the failure of woke businesses and banks in the private sector,” Ogles said in a statement. “My legislation would eliminate the ridiculous 25-member committee on ‘racial equity’ that currently exists in the Treasury Department. Americans deserve an Executive focused on enacting sound fiscal policy, not diversity quotas.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has defended her department’s racial equity committee, but Republicans say it is distracting the department from its core functions. (Sarah Silbiger/Pool via REUTERS)
Treasury created the committee late last year and said its work is to “identify, monitor and review aspects of the domestic economy that have directly and indirectly resulted in unfavorable conditions” for minorities. Late last year, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the committee would contribute to policies aimed at reflecting “America’s diversity in our workforce.”
“A critical piece of executing on our racial equity goals is bringing a wide set of outside perspectives and lived experiences to the decision-making table,” she said in October. “The Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, made up of members with wide-ranging backgrounds and expertise, will provide important insight and advice to leadership across the department to bolster and inform our equity efforts.”
Ogles and other Republicans said the committee reflects the kind of “woke” social agendas that distract companies from their core mission and amount to a government attempt to inject politics and racial division into the private sector. Ogles’ bill to kill the committee is called the “Go Woke, Go Broke” act.
Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Tenn., right, is proposing to eliminate the Treasury’s controversial committee. (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
“The Treasury Department plays an integral role in our financial markets by setting economic and fiscal policy priorities,” said Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform. “Unfortunately, the creation of Treasury’s woke racial equity committee will steer the department toward more biased political decision-making.”
Conservative Political Action Coalition Chairman Matt Schlapp said the committee shows the Biden administration would rather focus on “the agenda of far-left activists” instead of issues like inflation, and said his group supports the bill as a way of ensuring Treasury “no longer wastes our tax dollars to pursue woke objectives.”
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said last year the committee would contribute to policies that reflect America’s diversity. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Republicans have opposed the committee since its creation last year, particularly because of the positions taken by its leaders. The vice chair of the committee, Felicia Wong, is also president of the Roosevelt Institute, which has supported the idea of making racial justice a core issue for all areas of government.
A report from Wong released in 2021 argued that “all policy, from vaccine distribution to higher education funding to tax reform, will have racialized effects. Recognizing this reality, and always considering race in policy design, is therefore vital.”
Her report added that the “promise of opportunity” is not enough and that the goal of racial equity “demands redistribution of resources.”