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John Boehner Names Candice Miller To Chair House Committee

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JOHN BOEHNER CANDICE MILLER
After taking heat for tapping all white men to run House committees, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tapped Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) on Friday to chair the House Administration Committee. | AP

WASHINGTON -- After taking heat for stacking House committee chair posts with all white men in the next Congress, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) appears to have found his binder full of women.

Boehner announced Friday that Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) will chair the House Administration Committee -- a committee that Miller wasn't even on until now.

"In her new post, Candice will provide the leadership needed to keep operating costs down, save taxpayer dollars and help lawmakers use new technology to better engage with their constituents," Boehner said in a statement Friday.

Given that Miller wasn't on the committee before, Boehner's move is a fairly transparent response to the criticisms he took -- also from some in his own party -- for failing to tap any women or minorities for committee chair slots. Many called the all-white, all-male lineup of committee chairmanships a bad move, given that Republicans are trying to appeal to both of those groups post-election.

Neither a Boehner spokesman nor a spokeswoman for Miller responded to a request for comment on the timing behind Boehner's decision to give Miller the post.

In terms of seniority, Rep. Gregg Harper (R-Miss.) was next in line to become chair of the House Administration Committee, which means Miller will skip over him to take the helm. The committee's current chairman, Rep. Dan Lungren (R-Calif.), lost in the November election. A Harper spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Miller had previously gunned for chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, but that post ended up going to Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

In a statement, Miller said she is "humbled and honored" to become chair of the House Administration Committee.

A Democratic leadership aide, speaking on background, seemed amused by Boehner's move.

"The Grand Old Patriarchs seem to be subconsciously sending the message to women that their best place in the House is to oversee housekeeping," the aide said.

Earlier in the week, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), one of three women in House Republican leadership, demurred when asked if she thought it was a problem that all of the House Republican committee chairs will be white men in the next Congress. Foxx was just named secretary of the House Republican Conference.

"The three officers of the Conference are all women," Foxx said as she walked quickly past HuffPost. "How about focusing on that?"

Asked again about the lack of women in committee chair posts, she repeated that the party has three women in leadership and pulled a door closed behind her as she walked into a room, shouting back, "Not a problem!"

This story has been updated to reflect comment from an aide for the House Democratic leadership.

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