Committee on Committees / Party Leaders
At the beginning of each Congress, members meet to organize and select their leaders. Committees formed in each party conference and responsible for nominating the party’s members to committee membership and committee leadership positions. Nominations are subject to approval by the full party conference.
Party Conference: The organization of all party members in the chamber. The conferences elect the party and committee leaders as well as rank-and-file committee members from their party. The conferences meet periodically to discuss political strategy and review party positions on pending legislative business.
Democratic Caucus. The caucus serves as the organizational vehicle for all House Democrats and is led by two officers elected by the caucus: chair and vice chair. The caucus hosts meetings and serves as the primary vehicle for communicating the party message to members.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Appointed by the Democratic leader, the chair and co-chairs oversee the political unit of House Democrats.
Republican Conference. The conference serves as the organizational vehicle for all House Republicans. It is led by three officers elected by the conference: chair, vice chair, and secretary. The conference hosts meetings and serves as the primary vehicle for communicating the party message to members.
Republican Policy Committee. Elected by the Republican Conference, the chair assists party leaders in designing, developing, and executing policy ideas. The chair appoints a vice chair.
Republican Congressional Campaign Committee. Elected by the Republican Conference, the chair and executive committee oversee the political unit of House Republicans.
Democratic Policy Committee. The policy development arm of the Senate Democrats, the Policy Committee works with the Democratic leader to develop policy proposals. The chair and vice chair are appointed by the Democratic leader. The committee includes three regional chairs.
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Appointed by the Democratic leader, the chair oversees the political unit of Senate Democrats. A vice chair for outreach and policy is appointed by the chair.
Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee. Appointed by the Democratic leader, the chair of the committee is responsible for building coalitions.
Democratic Committee on Committee Outreach. Appointed by the Democratic leader, the chair and vice chair are responsible for maintaining communication among committee leaders.
Senate Republican Conference. The conference serves as the organizational vehicle for Senate Republicans and is led by a chair and vice chair elected by the conference. The conference hosts periodic meetings and is the primary vehicle for communicating party message. The conference chair is called majority leader or minority leader depending on which party controls the Senate.
Republican Policy Committee. The Policy Committee, and its elected chair, assists other Senate leaders in designing, developing, and executing policy ideas.
Republican Steering Committee. The steering committee, led by an appointed chair and vice chair, is responsible for making committee assignments.
National Republican Senatorial Committee. The campaign committee serves as the political unit of Senate Republicans. It is led by a chair who is appointed by the Republican Conference, and a vice chair appointed by the chair.
Also see Caucus / Congressional Member Organization; Congressional Leadership and Committees; § 5.51 Party Control of Congress, 80th through 112th Congresses, § 5.60 House Leadership, § 5.70 Senate Leadership, in Congressional Deskbook.
Congressional Leadership: Crash Course Government and Politics #8
- Congressional Leadership and Committees
- House Party Leadership – House
- Senate Party Leadership – Senate
- Democratic Caucus of the United States House of Representatives – Wikipedia
- Republican Conference of the United States House of Representatives – Wikipedia
- Democratic Caucus of the United States Senate – Wikipedia
- Republican Conference of the United States Senate – Wikipedia
- “Committee Assignment Process in the U.S. Senate: Democratic and Republican Party Procedures,” CRS Report RL30743 (19-page PDF)
- “House Committees: Assignment Process,” CRS Report 98-367 (7-page PDF)
- “House Subcommittees: Assignment Process,” CRS Report 98-610 (6-page PDF)
- “Party Leaders in the House: Election, Duties, and Responsibilities,” CRS Report RS20881 (6-page PDF)
- “Party Leaders in Congress, 1789-2017,” CRS Report RL30567 (43-page PDF)
- “House Leadership Structure: Overview of Party Organization,” CRS Report RS20930 (3-page PDF)
- “Senate Leadership Structure: Overview of Party Organization,” CRS Report RS20933 (3-page PDF)
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