Party leaders of the United States Senate

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Majority Leader of the
U.S. Senate
Harry Reid official portrait 2009 crop.jpg
Incumbent
Harry Reid (D)

since January 3, 2007
Inaugural holder Henry Cabot Lodge (R)
Formation March 4, 1920
Minority Leader of the
U.S. Senate
Mitch McConnell official portrait 112th Congress.jpg
Incumbent
Mitch McConnell (R)

since January 3, 2007
Inaugural holder Oscar Underwood (D)
Formation April 27, 1920
Majority Whip of the
U.S. Senate
(Democratic Whip)
Richard Durbin official photo.jpg
Incumbent
Richard Durbin

since January 3, 2007
Style Senator
Inaugural holder J. Hamilton Lewis
Formation 1913
Minority Whip of the
U.S. Senate
(Republican Whip)
John Cornyn official portrait, 2009.jpg
Incumbent
John Cornyn

since January 3, 2013
Style Senator
Inaugural holder James Wadsworth, Jr.
Formation 1915
Great Seal of the United States (obverse).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the United States

The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders are two United States Senators who are elected by the party caucuses that hold the majority and the minority respectively. These leaders serve as the chief Senate spokespeople for their parties and manage and schedule the legislative and executive business of the Senate. By rule, the Presiding Officer gives the Majority Leader priority in obtaining recognition to speak on the floor of the Senate. The Majority Leader customarily serves as the chief representative of his or her party in Senate, and sometimes even in all of Congress if the House of Representatives and thus the office of Speaker of the House is controlled by the opposition party.

The Assistant Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate (commonly called Senate Majority and Minority Whips) are the second-ranking members of the party leadership of the United States Senate. The main function of the Majority and Minority Whips is to gather votes on major issues. Because he or she is the second ranking member of the Senate, if there is no floor leader present, the whip may become acting floor leader. Before 1969, the official titles were Majority Whip and Minority Whip.

Many state senates are organized in the same way as the United States Senate.

Duties[edit]

Per 19 U.S.C. § 2191(c)(1), an implementing bill for a fast-track negotiating authority (trade promotion authority) trade agreement submitted by the President is introduced (by request) in the House by the majority leader of the House and (by request) in the Senate by the majority leader of the Senate.

Current floor leaders[edit]

The Senate is currently composed of 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans, and 2 independents, both of whom caucus with the Democrats.

The current leaders are Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The current Assistant Majority Leader is Democrat Dick Durbin of Illinois. The current Assistant Minority Leader is Republican John Cornyn of Texas.

History[edit]

The Democrats began the practice of electing floor leaders in 1920 while they were in the minority. John Worth Kern (December 20, 1849 – August 17, 1917) was a Democratic United States Senator from Indiana. While the title was not official, he is considered to be the first Senate party leader (and in turn, the first Senate Democratic Leader), while serving concurrently as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. In 1925 the majority (at the time) Republicans also adopted this language when Charles Curtis became the first (official) Majority Leader[citation needed], although his immediate predecessor Henry Cabot Lodge is considered the first (unofficial) Senate Majority Leader.

The Constitution designates the Vice President of the United States as President of the Senate. The Constitution also calls for a President pro tempore to serve as the leader of the body when the President of the Senate (the Vice President) is absent. In practice, neither the Vice President nor the President pro tempore—customarily the most senior (longest-serving) Senator in the majority party—actually presides over the Senate on a daily basis; that task is given to junior Senators of the majority party, in part so they may learn proper procedure. For these reasons, it is the Majority Leader who in practice manages the Senate.[citation needed]

List of party leaders[edit]

The Democratic Party first selected a leader in 1920. The Republican Party first formally designated a leader in 1925.

Cong-
ress
Dates Democratic Whip Democratic Leader Majority Republican Leader Republican Whip
63 March 4, 1913 –
March 4, 1915
J. Hamilton Lewis None ← D Maj None None
64 March 4, 1915 –
March 4, ? 1915
James Wadsworth, Jr.
1915 ? –
1917
Charles Curtis
65 March 4, 1917 –
March 4, 1919
66 March 4, 1919 –
March 4, 1921
Peter Gerry Oscar Underwood R Maj → Henry Cabot Lodge (unofficial)
67 March 4, 1921 –
March 4, 1923
68 March 4, 1923 –
November 9, 1924
Joseph Taylor Robinson
1925 Charles Curtis Wesley Jones
69 March 4, 1925 –
March 4, 1927
70 March 4, 1927 –
March 4, 1929
71 March 4, 1929 –
March 4, 1931
Morris Sheppard James E. Watson Simeon Fess
72 March 4, 1931 –
March 4, 1933
73 March 4, 1933 –
January 3, 1935
J. Hamilton Lewis ← D Maj Charles L. McNary Felix Hebert
74 January 3, 1935 –
January 3, 1937
None[1]
75 January 3, 1937 –
July 14, 1937
July 22, 1937 –
January 3, 1939
Alben W. Barkley
76 January 3, 1939 –
?
Sherman Minton
1940 Warren Austin (acting)
77 January 3, 1941 –
January 3, 1943
Lister Hill Charles L. McNary
78 January 3, 1943 –
January 3, 1945
Wallace H. White Jr. (acting) Kenneth Wherry
79 January 3, 1945 –
January 3, 1947
Wallace H. White Jr.
80 January 3, 1947 –
January 3, 1949
Scott Lucas R Maj →
81 January 3, 1949 –
January 3, 1951
Francis Myers Scott W. Lucas ← D Maj Kenneth S. Wherry Leverett Saltonstall
82 January 3, 1951 –
January 3, 1952
Lyndon Johnson Ernest McFarland
January 3, 1952 –
January 3, 1953
Styles Bridges
83 January 3, 1953 –
July 31, 1953
Earle Clements Lyndon B. Johnson R Maj → Robert A. Taft
August 3, 1953 –
January 3, 1955
William F. Knowland
84 January 3, 1955 –
January 3, 1957
← D Maj
85 January 3, 1957 –
January 3, 1959
Mike Mansfield Everett Dirksen
86 January 3, 1959 –
January 3, 1961
Everett M. Dirksen Thomas Kuchel
87 January 3, 1961 –
January 3, 1963
Hubert Humphrey Mike Mansfield
88 January 3, 1963 –
January 3, 1965
89 January 3, 1965 –
January 3, 1967
Russell Long
90 January 3, 1967 –
January 3, 1969
91 January 3, 1969 –
September 7, 1969
Ted Kennedy Hugh Scott
September 24, 1969 –
January 3, 1971
Hugh Scott Robert Griffin
92 January 3, 1971 –
January 3, 1973
Robert Byrd
93 January 3, 1973 –
January 3, 1975
94 January 3, 1975 –
January 3, 1977
95 January 3, 1977 –
January 3, 1979
Alan Cranston Robert Byrd Howard Baker Ted Stevens
96 January 3, 1979 –
January 3, 1981
97 January 3, 1981 –
January 3, 1983
R Maj →
98 January 3, 1983 –
January 3, 1985
99 January 3, 1985 –
January 3, 1987
Bob Dole Alan Simpson
100 January 3, 1987 –
January 3, 1989
← D Maj
101 January 3, 1989 –
January 3, 1991
George Mitchell
102 January 3, 1991 –
January 3, 1993
Wendell Ford
103 January 3, 1993 –
January 3, 1995
104 January 3, 1995 –
June 12, 1996
Tom Daschle R Maj → Trent Lott
June 12, 1996 –
January 3, 1997
Trent Lott Don Nickles
105 January 3, 1997 –
January 3, 1999
106 January 3, 1999 –
January 3, 2001
Harry Reid
107 January 3 –
20, 2001
← D Maj
January 20 –
June 6, 2001
R Maj →
June 6, 2001 –
January 3, 2003[2]
← D Maj
108 January 3, 2003 –
January 3, 2005
R Maj → Bill Frist Mitch McConnell
109 January 3, 2005 –
January 3, 2007
Richard Durbin Harry Reid
110 January 3, 2007 –
December 18, 2007
← D Maj Mitch McConnell Trent Lott
December 19, 2007 –
January 3, 2009
Jon Kyl
111 January 3, 2009 –
January 3, 2011
112 January 3, 2011 –
January 3, 2013
113 January 3, 2013 –
January 3, 2015
John Cornyn
Cong-
ress
Dates Democratic Whip Democratic Leader Majority Republican Leader Republican Whip

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ No Republican whips were appointed from 1935 to 1944 since only 17 Republicans were in the Senate following the landslide reelection of President Franklin Roosevelt in 1936. Accordingly, the minutes of the Republican Conference for the period state: "On motion of Senator Hastings, duly seconded and carried, it was agreed that no Assistant Leader or Whip be elected but that the chairman be authorized to appoint Senators from time to time to assist him in taking charge of the interests of the minority." A note attached to the conference minutes added: "The chairman of the conference, Senator McNary, apparently appointed Senator Austin of Vermont as assistant leader in 1943 and 1944, until the conference adopted Rules of Organization." Source: Party Whips, via Senate.gov
  2. ^ Democrats remained in control after November 25, 2002, despite a Republican majority resulting from Jim Talent's special election victory in Missouri. There was no reorganization as Senate was no longer in session. Party Division in the Senate, 1789-present, via Senate.gov

External links[edit]