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The floor leaders and whips of each party are elected by a majority vote of all the Senators of their party assembled in a conference or, as it sometimes is called, a caucus. The practice has been to choose the leader for a two-year term at the beginning of each Congress. The majority and minority leaders are the elected spokespersons on the Senate floor for their respective political parties.


Floor Leadership

The positions of the majority and the minority leader, as we know them today, are of recent development in the history of the Senate, although individual Senators since 1789 assumed leading roles in determining the Senate schedule.


Current Senate Leadership

Senate Majority and Minority Leaders:  History and List

Senate Whips:  History and List

Responsibilities of Majority and Minority Leaders

Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Officials: Current Salaries (pdf) (Contains leadership salaries)

Essays on Floor Leadership

Senators Require a Whip, May 28, 1913

Democratic Leadership Deadlock, January 15, 1920

Republican Leader, Front and Center, January 5, 1937

Priority Recognition of Floor Leaders, August 13, 1937

Essays on Majority and Minority Leaders

Henry Cabot Lodge:  Senate Leader, Presidential Foe

Charles Curtis:  "God-Sent into Politics"

Joseph T. Robinson, the "Fightingest" Man in the U.S. Senate

Death of a Majority Leader, July 14, 1937

Majority Leader Resigns, February 24, 1944

Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen Dies, September 7, 1969

Essays on Party Conferences and Caucuses

Members of each major party convene in private meetings known as party conferences (or party caucuses) to elect floor leaders, make committee assignments, and set legislative agendas.

Senate Democratic Caucus Organized, March 6, 1903

Conference Minutes, March 16, 1903

Senate Policy Committees Established, August 8, 1946

Portraits of Leaders

U.S. Senate Leadership Portrait Collection (pdf)

Leader's Lecture Series

The Leader's Lecture Series provides outstanding former Senate leaders and other distinguished Americans the chance to share their insights about the Senate's recent history and long-term practices.

 House Leadership

The Speaker of the House is not only the presiding officer of the House, but also serves as leader of the majority party conference. Next in the chain of command of the majority party are the majority leader and the majority whip. The minority leadership in the House consists of the House minority leader and the minority whip.

Current House Leadership

Related Items

Interested in related materials? Take a look at these Virtual Reference Desk subjects for more information.


Officers and Staff of the Senate

Political Parties