House leadership

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This page focuses on the positions which comprise the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Contents

House leadership in the 111th Congress

The following members were selected by House Democrats to serve in the leadership during the 111th Congress:

Position Member
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.)
Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.)
Caucus Chair John Larson (Ct.)
Caucus Vice-chair Xavier Becerra (Calif.)
DCCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen (Md)

Republican Leadership

The following members were selected by House Republicans to serve in the leadership during the 111th Congress:

Position Member
Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio)
Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.)
Conference Chair Mike Pence (Ind.)
Policy Committee Chairman Thad McCotter (Mich.)
Conference Vice-chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Wash.)
Conference Secretary John Carter (Texas)
Chairman of NRCC Pete Sessions (Texas)

Speaker of the House

The Speaker of the House is the highest ranking member of the U.S. House of Representatives. The office of Speaker was created by the US Constitution. While there is no Constitutional requirement, as a practical matter, the Speaker always belongs to the majority party, and also serves as that party’s leader. [1] Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) is the Speaker for the 110th Congress. [2]

Both the election and responsibilities of the Speaker are detailed in House Rule 1 of the House rules.

The Speaker is the second in line to follow the president should he become unable to hold office (following the Vice President of the United States), as dictated in the Presidential Succession Act of 1947. As of 2006, no Speaker has ever vaulted to this position. [3]

House Majority Leader

The House Majority Leader is second to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives in the majority party hierarchy. A representative is elected to the post by the majority party’s conference in organizational meetings prior to the start of a new Congress. While there are no official Constitutional responsibilities, historically the Majority Leader has worked closely with the Speaker and been responsible for scheduling legislation for floor consideration. The Majority Leader also helps plan daily, weekly, and annual legislative agendas; consults with Members to gauge the climate on particular issues; urges colleagues to support or defeat measures on the floor, and works to advance the goals of the majority party. Lastly, the majority leader is also responsible for monitoring floor activities, particularly the opposition party’s parliamentary maneuvers. [4]

Rep. Steny Hoyer was chosen by the Democrats to serve as Majority Leader for the 110th Congress. [5]

House Minority Leader

The House Minority Leader serves as the minority party’s counterpart to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. A representative is elected to the post by the minority party caucus or conference at organizational meetings prior to the start of a new Congress. The Minority Leader speaks for the minority party and its policies, strives to protect the minority’s rights, and devises parliamentary strategies and tactics for maximizing the influence of the minority party on legislative outcomes. In addition, the Minority Leader chairs the party’s committee assignment panel, and similar to the Speaker, serves as a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Traditionally, the Minority Leader does not lead floor debate on major measures. John Boehner (R-Ohio) is the Minority Leader for the 109th Congress. [6]

House Whips

In the House, members of both the majority and minority party elect a Whip at the commencement of each Congress. The term "whip" is originally derived from the British fox hunting term "whipper in," which described the person responsible for keeping the foxhounds from leaving the pack. The title was first used in the British House of Commons in the late 1700s to describe the officials responsible for gathering votes on a given issue. [7] [8]

In the U.S. Congress, both the House Majority Whip and House Minority Whip are responsible for mobilizing the party vote on important legislation, acting as a liaison between members and the leadership, and coordinating strategy within the the respective parties. Whips are responsible for calculating "head counts" prior to important votes. The undecided members are important when close votes are expected, and become prime targets for the persuasive efforts of the Whips. These counts help the Speaker make important decisions, such as when a measure is ready for the floor, or the Minority Leader in planning opposition to a bill. [9] [10]

Each Whip has a staff of employees, and supervises numerous colleagues who serve as assistant whips: chief deputy whips, deputy whips, at-large whips, zone or regional whips. Whips also serve a communications role, expressing the intentions and wishes of the Speaker or Minority Leader, and issuing both daily and weekly "Whip Notices," announcing changes to the floor schedule to help members plan their travel. [11] [12]

The House Majority Whip is the third-ranking member of the majority party, behind both the Speaker and the Majority Leader. The House Minority Whip is the second-ranking member of the minority party, behind only the Minority Leader. [13] [14]

Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C) was chosen as Majority Whip for the 110th Congress. Rep. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the previous Majority Whip, will serve as Minority Whip.

Past House leadership

110th Congress (2007-2008)

Democratic leadership for the 110th Congress

Position Member
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (Calif.)
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.)
Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.)
Caucus Chair* Rahm Emanuel (Ill.)
Caucus Vice-chair* John Larson (S.C.)
Policy Committee Chairman* Rosa DeLauro (Conn.) and George Miller (Calif.)
Chairman of DCCC* Chris Van Hollen (Md.)

Republican leadership for the 110th Congress

PositionMember
Minority LeaderJohn Boehner (Ohio)
Minority WhipRoy Blunt (Mo.)
Conference Chair*Adam Putnam (Fla.)
Conference Secretary*John Carter (Texas)
Conference Vice-Chair*Kay Granger (Texas)
Policy Committee Chairman*Thad McCotter (Mich.)
Chairman of the NRCC*Tom Cole (Okla.)

*Position is not an official House leadership position but is part of the caucus leadership.

109th Congress (2005-2006)

Republican leadership for the 109th Congress

PositionMember
Speaker of the HouseDennis Hastert (Ill.)
Majority LeaderJohn Boehner (Ohio)
Majority WhipRoy Blunt (Mo.)
Conference Chair*Deborah Pryce (Ohio)
Conference Vice-chair*Jack Kingston (Ga.)
Conference Secretary*John Doolittle (Calif.)
Policy Committee Chairman*Adam Putnam (Fla.)
Chairman of RCCC*Tom Reynolds (N.Y.)

Democratic leadership for the 109th Congress

PositionMember
Minority LeaderNancy Pelosi (Calif.)
Minority WhipSteny Hoyer (Md.)
Caucus Chair*Jim Clyburn (S.C.)
Caucus Vice-Chair*John Larson (Ct.)
Steering Committee Chair*Rosa DeLauro (Ct.)
Policy Committee Chairman*George Miller (Calif.)
Chairman of the DCCC*Rahm Emanuel (Ill.)

*Position is not an official House leadership position but is part of the caucus leadership.

Articles and Resources

Resources

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