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Organization of Congress – Party Leadership PowerPoint Presentation
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Organization of Congress – Party Leadership

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Organization of Congress – Party Leadership

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  1. Organization of Congress – Party Leadership

  2. Key Terms • Speaker of the House – the presiding officer of the House of Rep., selected from the membership. • Floor Leader – A spokesperson for a party in Congress; one who directs party decisions and strategy • Majority leader – the legislative leader of the party holding the majority of seats in the House or Senate. • Minority Leader – the legislative leader and spokesperson for the party holding the minority of the seats in the House or Senate • Whip – a senator or representative who works with party leaders to communicate views, solicit support before votes are taken and keep track of how voting is likely to go

  3. The Party Leadership • Power in the House tends to be centralized in the hands of its leaders because membership is larger than it is in the Senate • The leaders of the House are as follows: The Speaker of the House, the two Floor Leaders, and two assistant leaders or whips • The Speaker of the House is always a member of the majority party and is often the most powerful member of Congress • The Speaker rules on questions of parliamentary procedure, influences committee assignments, channels bills, appoints party leaders, and presides over many House debates

  4. The Party Leadership • The Speaker must call on a member in order for them to speak • The majority leader is the Speaker’s top assistant • The minority leader heads and organizes the opposition to the majority party • Both the majority and minority are assisted by whips • Whips inform members of upcoming votes on bills, count numbers of expected votes, and pressure members to support the leadership in critical votes • Few votes are called for without the leadership knowing what the outcome will be

  5. Leadership in the Senate • The president of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States, but has little authority • Because the VP doesn’t attend session often enough, a president pro tempore – a leading or senior member of the majority party – is selected to reside • The role of president is largely ceremonial and lacks real power • The floor leaders hold the real leadership power in the Senate, although it’s much less centralized than in the House

  6. Leadership in the Senate • The majority leader is often the most influential and has the privilege of speaking first on the floor • Majority leaders and minority leaders consult with each other to set agenda • The minority leader’s power often resides in how well he gets along with the majority leader • The Senate also has party whips to assist • Senators are less tied to party and more independent in the way they vote