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Party Leadership

Party Conferences

Members of each major party meet in closed sessions known as party conferences (or party caucuses) to elect floor leaders,  make committee assignments, and set legislative agendas. The Democratic Leader serves as  chair of the party conference, while the Republican party separates the positions, electing a chairperson for the party  conference, apart from the Floor leader.

Democratic Conference Chair:  Senator Harry Reid

Republican Conference Chair: Senator Lamar Alexander

See a list of former Conference Chairs in the History section.

Party Conference Secretaries

Each party elects a Conference Secretary or Vice Chairman who is responsible for keeping the Minutes of the party conferences.  

Democrat Conference Secretary: Senator Patty Murray

Republican Conference Secretary:  Senator John Cornyn

See a list of former Conference Secretaries in the History section.

Policy Committees

The Senate created Democratic and Republican Policy Committees in 1947. Until 2000, the Democratic Policy Committee was chaired by the party floor leader, who also served as chair of the Democratic Conference. A co-chair position was added in 1989. In the 106th Congress, the majority leader dropped his co-chair status and the chair of the policy committee is now an  elected post. The Republican Policy Committee elects its chairperson separate from the party floor leader.

Democratic Policy Committee Chair:  Senator Byron Dorgan

Republican Policy Committee Chair:  Senator John Ensign

See a list of former Policy Committee chairs in the History section.


This chart shows the relationships among Senate leaders and officers who manage the flow of legislative and administrative business in the Senate.  

Information about any senator, representative, vice president, or member of the Continental Congress.  

Many of the books listed on senate.gov can be found at your local public library or a government depository library, or can be purchased on the Web or from a bookstore.  This guide will help you get started.