House GOP women press Boehner for committee spots

House GOP women are pressuring Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFeehery: The next Republican wave is coming Rift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power MORE (R-Ohio) to fill two remaining committee chairman positions with female lawmakers.

The slate of committee chairmen approved Wednesday, by the full House GOP conference, consisted entirely of men.

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Shortly after the 22-person GOP Steering Committee announced its choices to fill 19 House committee chairman slots, outgoing Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) told The Hill not to read too much into the lack of female picks. 

“It’s not over yet,” Ros-Lehtinen said. “There’s still two committees open.”

As Speaker, BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFeehery: The next Republican wave is coming Rift widens between business groups and House GOP Juan Williams: Pelosi shows her power MORE is allowed to appoint the chairmen of the two committees: the Committee on House Administration and the Ethics Committee.

According to outgoing Rep. Sue Myrick (R-N.C.), female members of the GOP conference are appealing to the Speaker to fill the remaining open spots with Republican women.

Though she hasn’t “had a chance to talk with [Boehner]” about the matter yet, Myrick said that her colleagues have been “making the position known.”

On Tuesday night, House GOP women held a farewell dinner for the seven female colleagues not returning for the 113th Congress.

The lack of women atop powerful House committees was a main topic of discussion, according to participants, who told The Hill that the issue was being addressed with Boehner “behind the scenes.”

Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerTwo women could lead a powerful Senate spending panel for first time in history Conservative women's group endorses Sarah Huckabee Sanders for Arkansas governor Bottom line MORE (R-Texas) said that “we lost some high-ranking women ... so we had a dinner last night to say, ‘We’re sorry we’re losing you,’ and it was a topic of conversation.”

But the women had a reason to celebrate as well: The House GOP conference just elected three women to join the ranks of leadership for the next Congress — the most at any time.

Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersWashington redistricting panel reaches late agreement on new lines McMorris Rodgers worried broadband funding will miss mark without new maps The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Budget negotiators: 72 hours and counting MORE (R-Wash.) was elected to be the No. 4-ranking House Republican, Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.) won the position of conference vice chairwoman and Rep. Virginia FoxxVirginia Ann FoxxGOP lawmaker fined ,000 for failing to complete House security screening Former GOP Rep. Mark Walker fielding calls about dropping NC Senate bid, running for House Overnight Health Care — Biden unveils January vaccine deadline MORE (R-N.C.) was elected to be the conference secretary.

GOP rising star freshman Rep. Martha RobyMartha Dubina RobyLobbying world House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit The year of the Republican woman MORE (Ala.), who ran against Jenkins for the vice chairmanship, told The Hill that part of the problem is the lack of female GOP lawmakers.

There will be only 19 House GOP women in the 113th Congress, down from the current 24. Republican women will gain three new colleagues next year: Reps.-elect Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Susan BrooksSusan Wiant BrooksThe tale of the last bipartisan unicorns Bold leadership is necessary to curb violence against youth Here are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act MORE (R-Ind.) and Ann Wagner (R-Mo.).

But GOP women suffered some tough blows when more senior Reps. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.), Mary Bono Mack (R-Calif.) and Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) lost their reelection bids this year. Myrick opted to retire from the House, following nine terms of service.

“We [women] just need to move up in seniority and we’re just not there with the females to be able to vie confidently for the chairmanships,” Ros-Lehtinen explained to The Hill.

Only one woman, Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.), sought a chairmanship in the next Congress. She came very close to securing the Homeland Security gavel, according to several sources in the GOP Steering Committee.

It took several votes on the three candidates who ran to head the Homeland Security panel to break various ties. Sources say that Boehner, who has five votes in the Steering Committee, did not endorse any of the candidates but supported the eventual winner, Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas).

The third contender was Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.).

Myrick said that since Miller did not get the gavel at Homeland Security, she could be ready to take on the gavel at Ethics or House Administration.

Neither committee requires an in-depth knowledge of policy or history, as do the other House committees.

Myrick said that some of the freshmen, including Roby, could transition to a chairmanship seamlessly.

“We’ve got some really dynamite freshmen; any of them would be capable of stepping up to the plate,” Myrick said.

Boehner's office declined comment for this report.

This story was posted at 5:08 p.m. and updated at 6:48 p.m.