In the House of Representatives: Speaker of the House ~ the leader of the House of Representatives. He or she is chosen by the majority party (the party that has more members) Speaker of the House John Boehner (R)
The Speaker of the House: • Keeps order in House sessions; • Decides who speaks and in what order; • Determines the order that bills will be discussed.
In the Senate: According to the Constitution, the Vice –President is the leader of the Senate. He is usually, however, occupied. President pro tempore~literally the president “for the time being”. He or she runs the Senate when the Vice-President is not there (which is most of the time). The Vice-President usually only votes in the Senate if there is a 50-50 tie that he needs to break. President pro tempore of the Senate Patrick Leahy(D)
The President pro tempore: • Keeps order in Senate sessions; • Decides who has the floor and when; • Determines which bills are discussed and when. The Speaker of the House and the President pro-tempore have tremendous power over which bills will probably pass, and which will not.
Other Congressional leaders ~ Majority leader ~chosen by the majority party; this person try to make sure that the laws Congress passes are in the best interests of his or her party. There is a majority leader in the House and in the Senate. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R) Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D)
Minority leader ~ chosen by the minority party; also looks out for his or her party’s best interests when bills are voted on. There is a minority leader in both the House and the Senate. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D)
Party whips ~ Whips are assistant floor leaders. They assist the majority and minority leaders (so there is a minority whip and a majority whip). Whips keep track of how party members vote and try to persuade party members to vote the way the party wants them to vote. The are minority and majority whips in both the House and the Senate.
Committee chairpersons ~Most of the work that is done on bills in Congress (research, investigation, hearings) is done by committees. The chairmen of the committees in Congress are chosen by the majority party. They get to choose at least part of the people who will serve on their committee. Chairmen have a tremendous amount to control over which bills will be researched and taken seriously, and which ones will be mostly ignored by their committee.