Steering and Policy Committees of the United States House of Representatives

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In the United States House of Representatives, the two major political parties maintain policy and steering committees. Its primary purpose is to assign fellow party members to other House committees, and it also advises party leaders on policy.

The House Democratic Caucus has a combined single steering and policy committee, while the House Republican Conference divides the duties between two groups: a policy committee and a steering committee.

House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee[edit]

The House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee is chaired by the party leader in the House, which has been Nancy Pelosi since 2003, in her capacities as Minority Leader (2003–2007, 2011–present) and Speaker of the House (2007–2011), when the Democrats had the minority and majority of seats in the House, respectively. The party leader also appoints two co-chairs to assist her on the committee. Rosa DeLauro has been co-chair for Steering since 2003 and Eric Swalwell has been co-chair for Policy since 2017.

The statutory members include the full caucus leadership and deputy whip team and the committee chairs or ranking members (depending on a majority or minority) of Appropriations, Budget, Energy, Financial Services, Rules, and Ways and Means, and the elected representatives of the freshman class. Additional members are either directly appointed or elected as regional representatives.

Democratic Representatives are currently grouped into the following 12 regions:

  • 1: Southern California (21–53)
  • 2: Northern California (1–20), Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Alaska, Northern Mariana Islands
  • 3: Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska
  • 4: Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma
  • 5: Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Idaho
  • 6: Texas, Arizona, New Mexico
  • 7: Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas, North Carolina, South Carolina
  • 8: Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico
  • 9: Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, District of Columbia, Delaware
  • 10: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, West Virginia
  • 11: New York
  • 12: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Vermont

The members of the committee for the 114th Congress are as follows:[1][2]

House Republican Policy Committee[edit]

Luke Messer currently chairs the Policy Committee. In the Republican House leadership hierarchy, the chair of the House Republican Policy Committee ranks fifth, below the Speaker of the House, Majority Leader, Majority Whip, and the Republican Conference Chairman.

Statutory members include the full conference leadership, the committee chairs or ranking members (depending on a majority or minority) of Appropriations, Budget, Energy, Rules, and Ways and Means, and the elected leaders of the sophomore and freshman classes. Appointed members include 14 regional representatives, at-large members, members from the 20 standing committees, and designated appointees by the sophomore (2) and freshman (1) class leaders.

Republican Representatives are currently grouped into the following 14 regions:

  • 1: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska
  • 2: Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Wyoming, New Mexico, South Dakota
  • 3: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky
  • 4: Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota
  • 5: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, New Hampshire, Maine
  • 6: Ohio, New York
  • 7: Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Oklahoma
  • 8: Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina
  • 9: Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia
  • 10: California, Arizona, American Samoa
  • 11: Florida, Mississippi
  • Small States: Wyoming, Alaska, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, New Mexico, Maryland, Maine, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Delegates (American Samoa, District of Columbia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands)
  • Texas

Regions are restructured to reflect as closely as possible an equal number of Republican Members from each region; the small state group is composed of states that have three or fewer Republican members.[4]

The members of the committee for the 114th Congress are as follows:[5]

Policy Committee Chairs:

Chair Term
Joseph William Martin Jr. 1949–1959
John W. Byrnes 1959–1965
John Jacob Rhodes 1965–1973
Barber Conable 1973–1977
Del M. Clawson 1977–1979
Bud Shuster 1979–1981
Dick Cheney 1981–1987
Jerry Lewis 1987–1989
Mickey Edwards 1989–1993
Henry Hyde 1993–1995
Christopher Cox 1995–2005
John Shadegg 2005–2006
Adam Putnam 2006–2007
Thaddeus McCotter 2007–2011
Tom Price 2011–2013
James Lankford 2013–2015
Luke Messer 2015–present

House Republican Steering Committee[edit]

For House Republicans, the steering committee is chaired by the party leader in the House, either the Speaker (if Republicans are in the majority) or the Minority (Floor) Leader (if Republicans are in the minority). Under rules adopted after the 1994 Republican Revolution, the House party leader had five votes on the committee, the majority/minority whip receives 2 votes, and all other members receive 1 vote. The current chairman of the Republican Steering Committee is Paul Ryan.

The Republican counterpart in the Senate is the Committee on Committees. Senate Republicans also operate a steering committee to discuss policy issues.[6]

Statutory members include the full conference leadership and the committee chairs or ranking members (depending on a majority or minority) of Appropriations, Budget, Energy, Financial Services, Rules, and Ways and Means. Appointed members include the direct appointments, 14 regional representatives, and members from the three most junior classes.

The current members of the committee are as follows:[7]

The House Republican Conference approved changes to the steering committee's structure on November 19, 2015. These changes include a reduction in the Speaker's weighted votes from five to four (while giving him the right to appoint a new at-large member) and phased membership adjustments. The six committee leaders that were all previously given standing membership will share a single seat on a rotating basis, while congressional committee leaders whose relevant issues are being discussed will be invited to attend those meetings. The committee leaders' six vacant seats are to be elected by the whole Conference at-large by the end of 2015, and they will serve until the end of the 114th Congress (January 3, 2017). Following the 2016 general election for the next Congress, these at-large elected seats will be replaced by six additional regional representatives, with the new regions to be determined at that time.[8][9][10]

See also[edit]