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Congressional Leadership. Civics Mr. Blough. Leadership in Congress. How are we able to keep 435 representatives and 100 senators in order? Quite Simply, leadership is the glue that holds Congress together!. Leadership Responsibilities. Promoting legislative agenda of the party

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congressional leadership

Congressional Leadership


Mr. Blough

leadership in congress
Leadership in Congress
  • How are we able to keep 435 representatives and 100 senators in order?
    • Quite Simply, leadership is the glue that holds Congress together!
leadership responsibilities
Leadership Responsibilities
  • Promoting legislative agenda of the party
    • Get bills passed that you like
    • Try and stop bills that you don’t like
  • Making committee assignments (deciding who goes in which committee)
  • Making sure that each party is aligned on certain issues
leadership positions
Leadership Positions
  • Speaker of the House
  • President of the Senate
  • Majority/Minority Floor Leaders
  • Majority/Minority Whips
  • Republican/Democratic Conference Chairs
  • Committee chairpersons
speaker of the house
Speaker of the House
  • Most powerful person in the House of Reps.
    • Elected by members of House
    • Each party nominates a candidate, majority wins
  • Third in to presidency after the VP
  • What he does
    • Controls the legislative calendar
    • Controls who goes into committees
    • Decides who gets to speak and how long
  • Leader and national spokesperson of the majority party
house minority leader
House Minority Leader
  • Elected by members of the minority party to serve as their spokesperson
  • Criticizes the program of the majority party
  • Basically the opponent of the Speaker of the House
  • Seeks to block majority bills from passing
president of the senate
President of the Senate
  • Vice-President is the President of the Senate, but he’s seldom with the Senate
  • The VP votes in the case of a tie, has little power
  • When VP isn’t in the Senate, the President Pro-Tempore (“President for a time”) is in charge of the senate
    • Elected by other senators
    • Usually the majority party member with the longest record of continuous service
president pro tempore longest serving senator
President Pro Tempore = Longest Serving Senator

Strom Thurmond -101 Robert Byrd - 94

Republican (SC) Democrat (WV)

minority vs majority leaders
Minority vs. Majority Leaders
  • Majority leader = person who is in charge of the party who is currently has more seats in each house
  • Minority leader = leader of the party with the fewer seats
  • House (Republicans) -- Senate (Democrats)
  • Identify the parties of the majority and minority leaders in each house
majority minority whips
Majority & Minority Whips
  • Elected by party members
  • Assist the floor leaders to keep track of party members and lobby them for votes
  • Designed to make sure people within the party are voting along party lines (“whip them into place”)
standing committees
Standing Committees
  • Committees are where the bulk of legislative work is done (house and senate)
  • Committees mark-up bills, hold hearings, conduct investigations, and perform oversight
  • Committees concentrate on areas such as:
    • Budget
    • Military
    • Healthcare
    • Education
    • Etc.
  • Smaller, more specialized committees that focus on very specific issues
  • Committee within a Committee
    • Education Subcommittee on elementary education
    • Military Subcommittee on weapons
select committees
Select Committees
  • Temporary committees designed to address a specific issue at hand:
    • Global Warming
    • Steroids in baseball
joint committees
Joint Committees
  • Committees that consist of members of both the House and the Senate
  • Like joint committees, conference committees are designed to have both members of the House and Senate meet together to “iron-out” any differences in a proposed bill
committee assignments
Committee Assignments
  • House & Senate rules provide that they elect the members of committees at the beginning of each Congress (post 1970)
  • Seniority is the normal basis for ranking among committee members
    • The longer a member is in the committee, the more likely to become chair or ranking minority member
be able to explain all of the following in your notes
Be able to explain all of the following in your notes:
  • Majority/Minority leaders in House/Senate
  • Party Whip
  • Speaker of the House
  • President pro tempore
individually identify the following
Individually, identify the following:
  • 1 Standing Committees
  • 2 Subcommittees
  • 3 Select Committees
  • 4 Joint Committees
  • 5 Conference Committees