House Democratic Caucus

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House Democratic Caucus
Part ofUnited States House of Representatives
House SpeakerNancy Pelosi (CA)
Floor LeaderSteny Hoyer (MD)
Floor WhipJim Clyburn (SC)
ChairHakeem Jeffries (NY)
IdeologyCentrism
Modern liberalism
Progressivism
Political positionMajority: Center to center-left
AffiliationDemocratic Party
Colors  Blue
Seats
213 / 435
Website
https://www.dems.gov

The House Democratic Caucus is a congressional caucus composed of all Democratic Representatives in the United States House of Representatives and is responsible for nominating and electing the Democratic Party leadership in the chamber. In its roles as a party conference, the caucus writes and enforces rules of conduct and discipline for its members, approves committee assignments, and serves as the primary forum for development of party policy and legislative priorities. It hosts weekly meetings for these purposes and to communicate the party's message to members.

The caucus has a Caucus Chairman and Caucus Vice-Chair (formerly called the Secretary). For the 117th Congress, Hakeem Jeffries was re-elected as the Caucus Chairman, and Pete Aguilar was chosen as the Caucus Vice Chair to succeed Katherine Clark, who became the Assistant Speaker.

Current hierarchy[edit]

Effective with the start of the 117th Congress, the chain of command conference leadership is as follows (from highest to lowest):

Leadership history[edit]

The House Democratic Caucus, through its institutional antecedent, the Democratic-Republican caucus, was established on April 2, 1796, to stop a treaty with Great Britain which unfairly treated American sailors. For many years, through 1820, it nominated presidential candidates (before the era of national nominating conventions).

Since 2003, the House Democratic Leader has been Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California (the first female Speaker of the House in U.S. history).[1] She has served twice as Speaker, from 2007 - 2011 and from 2019 to present.

At the Organizational Meeting on November 18, 2008, of the Democratic Caucus for the 111th Congress, Representative John B. Larson (D-Connecticut) was elected Caucus Chairman by acclamation. The election was presided over by the outgoing chairman of the Democratic Caucus for the 110th Congress, former Representative Rahm Emanuel (D-Illinois). Rep. Larson officially assumed the position of chairman on the first day of the 111th Congress, January 3, 2009.

After his election as chairman at the Organizational Meeting on November 18, Chairman Larson presided over the election of Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-California), who defeated Representative Marcy Kaptur of Ohio by a vote count of 175 to 67. Rep. Becerra likewise assumed his vice-chairmanship on January 3.

Leaders of the House Democratic Caucus[edit]

Congress Leader District Took office Left office House Speaker
20th SpeakerStevenson.png Andrew Stevenson
(1784–1857)
Virginia 9 December 3, 1827 June 2, 1834[a]   Himself 1827–1834
21st
22nd
23rd Virginia 11
John Bell.jpg John Bell
(1796–1869)
Tennessee 7 June 2, 1834 March 4, 1835   Himself 1834–1835
24th James Knox Polk by GPA Healy, 1858.jpg James K. Polk
(1795–1849)
Tennessee 9 December 7, 1835 March 4, 1839   Himself 1835–1839
25th  
26th Unknown[b]   Hunter 1839–1841
27th Unknown[b]   White 1841–1843
28th JohnWinstonJones.jpg John Winston Jones
(1791–1848)
Virginia 6 December 4, 1843 March 4, 1845   Himself 1843–1845
29th John Wesley Davis.jpg John Wesley Davis
(1799–1859)
Indiana 6 December 1, 1845 March 4, 1847   Himself 1845–1847
30th Unknown[b]   Winthrop 1847–1849
31st Cobb, Howell2.jpg Howell Cobb
(1815–1868)
Georgia 6 December 22, 1849 March 4, 1851   Himself 1849–1851
32nd LinnBoyd.jpg Linn Boyd
(1800–1859)
Kentucky 1 December 1, 1851 March 4, 1855   Himself 1851–1855
33rd
34th Hon. Jones - NARA - 528402 (3x4a).jpg George Washington Jones
(1806–1884)
Tennessee 6 March 4, 1855 March 4, 1857   Banks 1856–1857
35th James Lawrence Orr - Brady-Handy.jpg James Lawrence Orr
(1822–1873)
South Carolina 5 December 7, 1857 March 3, 1859   Himself 1857–1859
36th George S. Houston - Brady-Handy.jpg George S. Houston
(1811–1879)
Alabama 5 March 4, 1859 January 21, 1861[c]   Pennington 1860–1861
37th Unknown[d]   Grow 1861–1863
38th Unknown[d]   Colfax 1863–1869
39th Unknown[d]
40th Unknown[d]
  Pomeroy 1869
41st Samuel J. Randall Brady-Handy.tif Samuel J. Randall
(1828–1890)
Pennsylvania 1 March 4, 1869 March 3, 1871   Blaine 1869–1875
William E. Niblack, Representative from Indiana, Thirty-fifth Congress, half-length portrait LCCN2010649380 (1).jpg William E. Niblack
(1822–1893)
Indiana 1
42nd Unknown[b]
43rd William E. Niblack, Representative from Indiana, Thirty-fifth Congress, half-length portrait LCCN2010649380 (1).jpg William E. Niblack
(1822–1893)
Indiana 1 March 4, 1873 March 3, 1875
44th Michael C. Kerr - Brady-Handy (1).jpg Michael C. Kerr
(1827–1876)
Indiana 3 December 6, 1875 August 19, 1876[e]   Himself 1875–1876
Samuel J. Randall Brady-Handy.tif Samuel J. Randall
(1828–1890)
Pennsylvania 3 December 4, 1876 March 3, 1881   Himself 1876–1881
45th
46th
47th Unknown[b]   Keifer 1881–1883
48th John Griffin Carlisle, Brady-Handy photo portrait, ca1870-1880.jpg John G. Carlisle
(1834–1910)
Kentucky 6 December 3, 1883 March 3, 1889   Himself 1883–1889
49th
50th
51st WSHolman.jpg William S. Holman
(1822–1897)
Indiana 4 March 4, 1889 March 3, 1891   Reed 1889–1891
52nd CharlesFrederickCrisp.jpg Charles Frederick Crisp
(1845–1896)
Georgia 3 December 8, 1891 March 3, 1895   Himself 1891–1895
53rd
54th D.B. Culberson.jpg David B. Culberson
(1830–1900)
Texas 4 March 4, 1895 March 3, 1897   Reed 1895–1899
55th James D Richardson.jpg James D. Richardson
(1843–1914)
Tennessee 5 March 4, 1897 March 3, 1903
56th   Henderson 1899–1903
57th
58th John Sharp Williams 1923.jpg John Sharp Williams
(1854–1932)
Mississippi 8 March 4, 1903 March 3, 1909   Cannon 1903–1911
59th
60th
61st James Beauchamp Clark.jpg Champ Clark
(1850–1921)
Missouri 9 March 4, 1909 March 2, 1921
62nd   Himself 1911–1919
63rd
64th
65th
66th   Gillett 1919–1925
67th Claude Kitchin.jpg Claude Kitchin
(1869–1923)
North Carolina 2 March 4, 1921 March 4, 1923
68th Finis J. Garrett (Tennessee Congressman).jpg Finis J. Garrett
(1875–1956)
Tennessee 9 March 4, 1923 March 3, 1929
69th   Longworth 1925–1931
70th
71st John n garner.jpg John Nance Garner
(1868–1967)
Texas 15 March 4, 1929 March 3, 1933
72nd   Himself 1931–1933
73rd SpeakerRainey.png Henry Thomas Rainey
(1860–1934)
Illinois 20 March 9, 1933 August 19, 1934[e]   Himself 1933–1934
74th Joseph Byrns.jpg Jo Byrns
(1869–1936)
Tennessee 5 January 3, 1935 June 4, 1936[e]   Himself 1935–1936
SpeakerBankhead.png William B. Bankhead
(1874–1940)
Alabama 7 June 4, 1936 September 15, 1940[e]   Himself 1936–1940
75th
76th
Samuel Taliaferro Rayburn.jpg Sam Rayburn
(1882–1961)
Texas 4 September 16, 1940 November 16, 1961[e]   Himself 1940–1947
77th
78th
79th
80th   Martin 1947–1949
81st   Himself 1949–1953
82nd
83rd   Martin 1953–1955
84th   Himself 1955–1961
85th
86th
87th
Speaker John McCormack.jpg John W. McCormack
(1891–1980)
Massachusetts 12 January 10, 1962 January 3, 1971   Himself 1962–1971
88th Massachusetts 9
89th
90th
91st
92nd Speaker Albert - portrait.jpg Carl Albert
(1908–2000)
Oklahoma 3 January 21, 1971 January 3, 1977   Himself 1971–1977
93rd
94th
95th SpeakerO'Neill.jpg Tip O'Neill
(1912–1994)
Massachusetts 8 January 4, 1977 January 3, 1987   Himself 1977–1987
96th
97th
98th
99th
100th SpeakerWright.jpg Jim Wright
(1922–2015)
Texas 12 January 6, 1987 June 6, 1989[a]   Himself 1987–1989
101st
SpeakerFoley.jpg Tom Foley
(1929–2013)
Washington 5 June 6, 1989 January 3, 1995   Himself 1989–1995
102nd
103rd
104th Dick Gephardt color.jpg Dick Gephardt
(born 1941)
Missouri 3 January 3, 1995 January 3, 2003   Gingrich 1995–1999
105th
106th   Hastert 1999–2007
107th
108th Official photo of Speaker Nancy Pelosi in 2019.jpg Nancy Pelosi
(born 1940)
California 8 January 3, 2003 Incumbent
109th
110th   Herself 2007–2011
111th
112th   Boehner 2011–2015
113th California 12
114th
  Ryan 2015–2019
115th
116th   Herself 2019–present
117th
118th Rep-Hakeem-Jeffries-Offical-Portrait-1638x2048.jpg Hakeem Jeffries
(born 1970)
New York 8 Due to take office
January 3, 2023.
TBD

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Resigned from office and from Congress.
  2. ^ a b c d e Whoever held this office during this Congress is unknown.
  3. ^ Alabama seceded from the Union on January 11, 1861, and Houston withdrew from Congress ten days later on January 21.
  4. ^ a b c d Whoever held this office during this Congress is unknown, although it was likely vacant due to the American Civil War.
  5. ^ a b c d e Died in office.

List of chairmen[edit]

Chairs are currently limited to two consecutive terms.

Officeholder State Congress Term
James Thompson Pennsylvania 31st 1849–1851
N/A[2] 32nd 1851–1853
Edson B. Olds Ohio 33rd 1853–1855
George Washington Jones Tennessee 34th 1855–1857
N/A[3] 35th 1857–1859
George S. Houston Alabama 36th 1859–1861
N/A[4] 37th–40th 1861–1869
William E. Niblack,
Samuel J. Randall[5]
Indiana,
Pennsylvania
41st 1869–1871
N/A[6] 42nd 1871–1873
William E. Niblack Indiana 43rd 1873–1875
Lucius Q.C. Lamar Mississippi 44th 1875–1877
Hiester Clymer Pennsylvania 45th 1877–1879
John F. House Tennessee 46th 1879–1881
N/A[7] 47th 1881–1883
George W. Geddes Ohio 48th 1883–1885
J. Randolph Tucker Virginia 49th 1885–1887
Samuel S. Cox[8] New York 50th 1887–1889
William S. Holman Indiana 51st–53rd 1889–1895
David B. Culberson Texas 54th 1895–1897
James D. Richardson Tennessee 55th 1897–1899
James Hay Virginia 56th–58th 1899–1905
Robert L. Henry Texas 59th 1905–1907
Henry D. Clayton[9] Alabama 60th–61st 1907–1911
Albert S. Burleson Texas 62nd 1911–1913
A. Mitchell Palmer Pennsylvania 63rd 1913–1915
Edward W. Saunders Virginia 64th–65th 1915–1919
Arthur G. DeWalt Pennsylvania 66th 1919–1921
Sam Rayburn Texas 67th 1921–1923
Henry T. Rainey Illinois 68th 1923–1925
Charles D. Carter Oklahoma 69th 1925–1927
Arthur H. Greenwood Indiana 70th 1927–1929
David H. Kincheloe Kentucky 71st 1929–1930[10]
William W. Arnold Illinois 72nd 1931–1933
Clarence F. Lea California 73rd 1933–1935
Edward T. Taylor Colorado 74th 1935–1937
Robert L. Doughton North Carolina 75th 1937–1939
John W. McCormack Massachusetts 76th 1939–1940[11]
Richard M. Duncan Missouri 77th 1941–1943
Harry R. Sheppard California 78th 1943–1945
Jere Cooper Tennessee 79th 1945–1947
Aime J. Forand Rhode Island 80th 1947–1949
Francis E. Walter Pennsylvania 81st 1949–1951
Jere Cooper Tennessee 82nd 1951–1953
Wilbur D. Mills Arkansas 83rd 1953–1955
John J. Rooney New York 84th 1955–1957
Melvin Price Illinois 85th–86th 1957–1961
Francis E. Walter[12] Pennsylvania 87th–88th 1961–1963
Albert Thomas Texas 88th 1964–1965
Eugene Keogh New York 89th 1965–1967
Dan Rostenkowski Illinois 90th–91st 1967–1971
Olin Teague Texas 92nd–93rd 1971–1975
Phillip Burton California 94th 1976–1977
Thomas S. Foley Washington 95th–96th 1977–1981
Gillis W. Long Louisiana 97th–98th 1981–1985
Richard A. Gephardt Missouri 99th–100th 1985–1989
William H. Gray III Pennsylvania 101st 1989
Steny H. Hoyer Maryland 101st–103rd 1989–1995[13]
Vic Fazio California 104th–105th 1995–1999
Martin Frost Texas 106th–107th 1999–2003
Bob Menendez New Jersey 108th–109th 2003–2006[14]
James Clyburn South Carolina 109th 2006–2007
Rahm Emanuel Illinois 110th 2007–2009
John B. Larson Connecticut 111th–112th 2009–2013
Xavier Becerra California 113th–114th 2013–2017
Joe Crowley New York 115th 2017–2019
Hakeem Jeffries New York 116th-117th 2019–present[15]

List of vice-chairs[edit]

The vice-chair of the Democratic Caucus ranks just below the Chair of the House Democratic Caucus. In addition to other duties, the vice-chair has a seat on the Steering and Policy Committee.[16]

List of secretaries[edit]

The office of Secretary of the Democratic Caucus preceded the office of vice-chair. Until its elimination in 1987, the office of Secretary was reserved for a female member of the House.[19]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi". Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. Retrieved March 18, 2018.
  2. ^ No clear records remain for this Congress.
  3. ^ No clear records remain for this Congress.
  4. ^ No clear records remain for these Congresses.
  5. ^ Caucus records show Representative Niblack and Representative Randall as both having served as chairman during the Congress, but no dates of service were specified.
  6. ^ Representative Fernando Wood of New York nominated the Democratic leadership slate in the House, but there is no other evidence to show he was elected caucus chairman.
  7. ^ Available data show that Representative John F. House nominated Samuel J. Randall as the Democratic candidate for Speaker, the traditional role of the caucus chairman. Later data show W.S. Rosecrans issuing the next call for a Democratic Caucus meeting, but there is no evidence to suggest that Rosecrans was actually elected caucus chairman.
  8. ^ Former Parliamentarian Clarence Cannon's notes state "Cox died during this Congress and [Representative James B.] McCreary evidently succeeded or acted for him." However, Representative Cox died on September 10, 1889, six months after the sine die adjournment of the 50th Congress and the convening of the 51st Congress.
  9. ^ Caucus records are contradictory for this period. They show the election of Representative James Hay as chairman on January 19, 1911, but do not mention a resignation by incumbent chairman Clayton, nor do they specify that Hay was elected chairman for the new Congress. Later, they show the election of Representative Albert S. Burleson on April 11, 1911.
  10. ^ Resigned from the House, October 5, 1930; there is no record of an election to fill the vacancy as caucus chair.
  11. ^ Resigned following election as majority (floor) leader, September 16, 1940; records do not indicate that a successor was chosen during the remainder of the Congress.
  12. ^ Died in office, May 31, 1963. Caucus chairman post vacant until January 21, 1964.
  13. ^ Representative Hoyer was elected Caucus Chairman on June 21, 1989, following the June 14, 1989, election of Representative William (Bill) H. Gray III as Majority Whip.
  14. ^ On January 16, 2006, Representative Menendez resigned from the House after he was appointed to the Senate.
  15. ^ "Hakeem Jeffries defeats Barbara Lee in battle for Dem Caucus chair". Politico. November 28, 2018.
  16. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on November 29, 2006. Retrieved December 21, 2006.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Center for American Women and Politics" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 26, 2009. Retrieved December 19, 2008.
  18. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 4, 2011. Retrieved July 18, 2011.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  19. ^ Congressional Women: On the Secretary position

External links[edit]