'Super Committee' Not So Super Representative

A lot of folks say if you want to get something done right, have a woman do it. If that's the case, then don't count on the new super committee on debt reduction to get it done.

Of the 12 members named to the panel, only one -- Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who was selected by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid -- is a woman.

That number may not be surprising to women, who are used to being underrepresented in many businesses and governmental institutions despite their being 50.7 percent of the U.S. population.

But female representation on the debt committee is a bit shy even for Congress, which has 93 women, or 17.2 of congressional membership. To at least be truly representative of Congress, if not the nation, two women would need to be on the panel.

One African-American congressman -- Rep. James Clyburn -- is a member of the panel, named Thursday by House Democratic Leader Nancy  Pelosi. That's actually pretty close to representative of the U.S. population, which according to the U.S. Census is 12.6 percent. Overall, 44 African-Americans are in the 112th Congress -- or 8.1 percent of the total membership, lower than the overall population, but a record number for the Legislature.

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Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Calif., also appointed by Pelosi, is the sole Latino on the panel, representing the interests of the 31 Hispanic or Latino members of the 112th Congress, which is 5.7 percent of the total congressional membership. Hispanics and Latinos make up 16.3 percent of the U.S. population.

The numbers may seem irrelevant, but they aren't. Population groups play a strong role in political decision-making. Emphasizing that point, Congressional Hispanic Caucus Chairman Charlie Gonzalez, D-Texas, commended Pelosi on Thursday for appointing Becerra.

"While every American would be impacted by the committee's plan to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion, the Latino community has the most at stake if further cuts are made to programs critical to getting our economy back on track," he said. "The CHC stands ready to work with the committee to ensure there is shared sacrifice and responsibility as we work to get Americans back to work."