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October 15, 2021

Pressley, Maloney Push to Ensure Biden Administration Has Critical Data to Advance Racial Equity in Federal Policymaking

Text of Letter (PDF)

BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), a member of the House Oversight Committee, and Oversight Committee Rep. Chairwoman Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12) sent a letter to Ambassador Susan Rice, Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, and Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Acting Director Shalanda Young applauding the Biden Administration for implementing Executive Order 13985, entitled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government,” and underscoring the need for robust data, assessment tools, and stakeholder engagement to ensure the success of this endeavor. 

President Biden signed the historic executive order on his first day in office, directing the Domestic Policy Council and OMB to work with federal agencies to identify and remove barriers to equal opportunity and programmatic benefits for people of color and other underserved groups.

“We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration’s bold efforts to address longstanding structural inequities rooted in our nation’s historical and ongoing legacy of systemic racism, which have been laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic.  Progress toward equity cannot be sustained without the federal government’s commitment to and development of institutional infrastructure to overcome historical injustices at scale.  To ensure the success of the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda, racial equity must be central to decision-making across the federal government.  This sweeping objective will require the collection of data that aligns with an up-to-date understanding of people’s identities and that reflects how diverse groups are differently situated.  Most federal agencies do not yet collect this type of data,” the Members wrote. 

Current gaps in the federal government’s collection of demographic data hinder agencies’ ability to identify barriers to equity and develop meaningful plans to remove these barriers.  In their letter, the Members commend the Biden Administration for establishing the White House Interagency Working Group on Equitable Data as an important step in addressing data gaps.  The letter also calls on federal agencies to engage with community-based and civil rights organizations as a central part of their efforts to advance racial equity. 

“Addressing systemic racism across all functions of the federal government must be an urgent priority.  To do so effectively, agencies must first collect the required data, conduct in-depth analyses, and engage with stakeholders.  We look forward to working with the Biden-Harris Administration to advance racial equity throughout the federal government,” the Members wrote.

Click here to read today’s letter.