This article endeavors to provide an accounting of senior leadership of the United States Congress. This paper will explore top leaders roles, their job descriptions and take a look into committees and issues these people are representing. As we take a look from behind the scenes, we are able to note why parties are so important in representing the Senate or the House of Representatives and the struggles of the many issues that each politician deals with during their elective terms. Being knowledgeable is the first step in knowing what our representatives are advocating for and if we disagree, it is our responsibility to contact them to let our voices be heard.
The One Hundred Thirteenth United States Congress is the current legislative within this congress and has a few important positions that were not included in the original Constitution. In the early twentieth century, new party leadership positions were created out of necessity. In 1920, Democrat, and in 1925, Republican, floor leaders were officially designated. (link: senate.gov, n.d.) The United States System has two dominating parties, Democrat or Republican. The Senate Majority leader is Harry M. Reid (Democrat – Nevada). The majority leader serves as a spokesperson for the majority party elected for the term and is one of the first to be called upon for issues that enables him to offer motions before other senators. The majority leader works with committee chairs and other high-ranking associates. He keeps other representatives abreast of scheduled business called on by the floor. The minority leader is someone selected opposite of the reigning party. (link: reid.senate.gov, n.d.). Minority Party Leader, Mitch McConnell (Republican – Kentucky) was selected to be the voice of the Republican Party of the Senate. The minority leader works closely with members to make sure that the interests of his party is brought to legislation and is assisted by the party whips. Party Whips are the second ranked members in the senate. Republican Party Whip, John Cornyn from Texas and Democratic Party Whip, Richard Durbin ( Illinois) have similar jobs for each of their parties. Their job is enforcing their political party and gather votes on stances their party views important. They attempt to ensure that members do not vote against positions of party leaders. The whips may become acting floor leaders if there is no floor leader present. (link: senate.gov, n.d.) John Boehner, the 12th term and 8th Congressional District Representative from Ohio, is the Speaker of the House. (link: house.gov) “Because the House has 435 members to the Senate’s 100, house leaders tend to have more power over their membership than do Senate leaders. With 435 people trying to make decisions together, their sheer numbers require leaders to coordinate the law making process. Political parties choose all top leadership positions.” (link: ushistory.org/gov) The Speaker is the highest ranking official in the House of Representatives and third in line for the presidency if something should happen to the President and Vice President. The Speaker of the House has many jobs including appointing House members to select and conference committees, has influence on committee assignments for new members, moderates questions on parliamentary procedure, decides points of order, and acceptability of floor motions, signs bills and resolutions passed by House, presides over proceedings on House floor and preserves order in the chamber, and takes the leading role in negotiations with the Senate and President. (link: speaker.gov) Eric Cantor is the United States Representative Majority Leader from the Virginia 7th Congressional District. He previously served as minority Whip from 2009 – 2011. Majority Party Leader is the second ranking member of their party and the most vocal.