Basic Guide to Party Leadership in Congress

Party leadership is responsible for bringing efficiency and order to the legislative body. Party leaders have partisan and institutional functions. The responsibility of the majority leadership is to set the agenda as well as determine legislative priorities and political strategies, assess support for legislation, schedule measures for floor action and round up votes for the passage of legislation. The minority leadership is responsible for devising strategies for the purpose of upsetting the majority’s plans.

Roller Derby Grand Slam-56
Creative Commons License photo credit: thelondonrollergirls

The position of Speaker of the House is provided for in Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution. This is the most senior officer of the House and also the third most senior official in the federal government. The Speaker presides over the House and also refers measures to committees. Other responsibilities include making rulings on points of order and setting the agenda. Additionally, the Speaker has priority for recognition on the floor. This position is elected by a majority vote of the House. Candidates may be nominated by their respective party caucus.

The second most senior official in the House is the majority leader. This is the person who is responsible for the day to day management of business on the floor. The majority leader is elected by the majority party caucus and is responsible for building and managing their party’s consensus on legislation.

The job of the majority whip is to persuade members to support the position of his or her party. The majority whip is responsible for measuring and rounding up support for party positions. There are also numerous assistant whips that work with the majority whip. This network of assistant whips can include chief deputy whips, regional whips and even class whips. The majority whip is elected by the majority party caucus.
Congressional Deskbook, by Michael L. Koempel and Judy Schneider
The minority leader is the senior official for the minority party and is responsible for working within the party to set a message, agenda and strategy. They may also appoint minority party members to commissions and task forces. The minority leader is elected by the minority party caucus.

The minority whip is responsible for persuading members to support their party’s position. They also count votes. A network of assistant whips also work with the minority whip.

To learn more about the subject of party leadership and how it functions within Congress, consider TheCapitol.Net’s half-day course, Congress in a Nutshell.

Also see CongressLeaders.com for a listing of the current congressional leadership.

Reference: Congressional Deskbook, by Michael L. Koempel and Judy Schneider, Section 7.40 Party Leadership

For more information about the legislative process, see these resources from TheCapitol.Net:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For over 30 years, TheCapitol.Net and its predecessor, Congressional Quarterly Executive Conferences, have been training professionals from government, military, business, and NGOs on the dynamics and operations of the legislative and executive branches and how to work with them.

Our training courses, publications, and audio courses include congressional operations, legislative and budget process, communication and advocacy, media and public relations, testifying before Congress, research skills, legislative drafting, critical thinking and writing, and more.

TheCapitol.Net is a non-partisan firm.

Publications from TheCapitol.Net

Post a Comment