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Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2017

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Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2015

2017
October 30, 2015January 5, 2017 (RL30567)
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Contents

Tables

Summary

This report briefly describes current responsibilities and selection mechanisms for 15 House and Senate party leadership posts and provides tables with historical data, including service dates, party affiliation, and other information for each. Tables have been updated as of the report's issuance date to reflect leadership changes.

Although party divisions appeared almost from the First Congress, the formally structured party leadership organizations now taken for granted are a relatively modern development. Constitutionally specified leaders, namely the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate, can be identified since the First Congress. Other leadership posts, however, were not formally recognized until about the middle of the 19th century, and some are 20th-century creations.

In the earliest Congresses, those House Members who took some role in leading their parties were often designated by the President as his spokesperson in the chamber. By the early 1800s, an informal system developed when the Speaker began naming his lieutenant to chair one of the most influential House committees. Eventually, other Members wielded significant influence via other committee posts (e.g., the post-1880 Committee on Rules). By the end of the 19th century, the formal position of floor leaders had been established in the House.

The Senate was slower than the House to develop formal party leadership positions, and there are similar problems in identifying individual early leaders. For instance, records of party conferences in the 19th century Senate are not available. Memoirs and other secondary sources reveal the identities of party conference or caucus chairs for some, but not all, Congresses after about 1850, but these posts carried very little authority. It was not uncommon for Senators to publicly declare that within the Senate parties, there was no single leader. Rather, through the turn of the 20th century, individuals who led the Senate achieved their positions through recognized personal attributes, including persuasion and oratorical skills, rather than election or appointment to formal leadership posts. The formal positions for Senate party floor leaders eventually arose from the position of conference chair.

Owing to the aforementioned problems in identifying informal party leaders in earlier Congresses, the tables in this report identify each leadership position beginning with the year in which each is generally regarded to have been formally established. The report excludes some leadership posts in order to render the amount of data manageable. A bibliography cites useful references, especially in regard to sources for historical data, and an appendix explains the abbreviations used to denote political parties.

This report will be updated as changes in House and Senate party leadership positions occur.


Party Leaders in the United States Congress, 1789-2015
2017

Introduction and Methodological Notes

Although party divisions sprang up almost from the First Congress, the formally structured party leadership organizations now taken for granted are a relatively modern development. Constitutionally specified leaders, namely the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore of the Senate, can be identified since the first Congress. Other leadership posts, however, were not officially recognized until about the middle of the 19th century, and some are 20th century creations. The following tables identify 15 different party leadership posts beginning with the year when each is generally regarded to have been formally established.

The tables herein present data on service dates, party affiliation, and other information for the following House and Senate party leadership posts:

House Positions

1. Speakers of the House of Representatives, 1789-2015

2017

2. House Republican Floor Leaders, 1899-2015

2017

3. House Democratic Floor Leaders, 1899-2015

2017

4. House Democratic Whips, 1901-2015

2017

5. House Republican Whips, 1897-2015

2017

6. House Republican Conference Chairs, 1863-2015

2017

7. House Democratic Caucus Chairs, 1849-2015

2017

Senate Positions

8. Presidents Pro Tempore of the Senate, 1789-2015

2017

9. Deputy Presidents Pro Tempore of the Senate, 1977-2015

2017

10. Permanent Acting President Pro Tempore of the Senate, 1964-2015

2017

11. Senate Republican Floor Leaders, 1919-2015

2017

12. Senate Democratic Floor Leaders and Conference Chairs, 1893-2015

2017

13. Senate Republican Conference Chairs, 1893-2015

2017

14. Senate Democratic Whips, 1913-2015

2017

15. Senate Republican Whips, 1915-2015

2017

This information reflects the leadership elections and appointments at the start of the 114th Congress, as well as changes that occurred during the Congress (as of the date of this report)115th Congress.

Included for each post are leaders' names, party and state affiliations, and dates and Congresses of service. For most Congresses, the report indicates years of service only, except in the tables for the House Speaker and the Senate President pro tempore, both of which include specific dates of service. When a Member died while holding a leadership office, however, the date of death is included as the end-of-service date (except in Table 13). In cases where a leadership change occurs during the course of a Congress, exact dates of service are indicated where possible. With respect to length of service, the report includes all instances in which a Member held a particular leadership post, regardless of whether the Member held the post for the entire Congress or only a portion of it.

Official congressional documents (House Journal and Senate Journal, Congressional Record, and predecessor publications) can be used to document the tenure of the constitutionally specified leaders (i.e., Speaker and President pro tempore). The actions of the party organizations in choosing other leaders, such as floor leaders or caucus or conference chairs, frequently went unacknowledged in these sources, however. In the frequent absence of party caucus records in the latter half of the 19th century, scholars have had to rely on secondary sources, such as memoirs and correspondence, for evidence of party leadership position-holding. The concluding portion of this report, "Source Notes and Bibliography," provides more information about sources and the reliability of leadership lists.

Identifying House Leaders

The changing nature of congressional leadership provides additional challenges to identifying leaders not constitutionally specified (e.g., floor leader).1 Even for party elected posts, determining who held other positions can be problematic in earlier Congresses. For example, identifying each party's conference (or caucus) chair often requires reliance on incomplete historical records of conference meetings or inferences made from informal practices (e.g., noting which Member nominated his party's candidate for Speaker, a motion that often fell to the conference chair).

In the House, for example, it was the common practice of President Thomas Jefferson and his immediate successors to designate a Member as their principal legislative spokesman. Often these spokesmen held no other formal leadership position in the House, and Presidents frequently designated new spokesmen, or even specialized spokesmen for individual measures, as their terms progressed. As these and other "leaders" were not chosen by a congressional party group or by a party leader such as the Speaker, these presidential designees have not been included here as "party leaders."

Most historians who study the 19th-century House acknowledge that an informal "positional leadership" system emerged possibly as early as the "War Hawk" Congress (1811-1813) under Speaker Henry Clay. Under this system, the Speaker—who at the time designated the chairmen of the standing committees—would name his principal lieutenant to be chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. After the Appropriations Committee was split from the Ways and Means Committee in 1865, the Speaker's principal floor lieutenant received either of these chairs. Sometimes, the Speaker chose a rival for the speakership to chair one of these committees in an effort to resolve intra-party disputes.

It is somewhat inaccurate, however, to consider these early leaders to be majority leaders in the modern sense, and they have not been included here. The position of chair of the Appropriations or Ways and Means Committee inevitably made the incumbent a powerful congressional figure because of the important legislation reported from these committees. These chairs were not, however, chosen in a vote by the full party organization, as the majority or minority House leaders are now. Furthermore, other leading congressional figures, such as the Republican leader Thomas Brackett Reed, achieved their positions of influence within the House by service on other committees, such as—in Reed's case—the post-1880 Rules Committee.

Identifying Senate Leaders

The Senate developed an identifiable party leadership later than the House. The few existing records of party conferences in the 19th-century Senate are held in private collections. Memoirs and other secondary sources reveal the identities of party conference or caucus chairs for some, but not all, Congresses after about 1850; these posts, however, carried very little authority. It was not uncommon for Senators to declare publicly that within the Senate parties there was no single leader.2 Instead, through the turn of the 20th century, individuals who led the Senate achieved their position through recognized personal attributes, including persuasion and oratory skills, rather than the current practice of election to most official leadership posts.

The development of Senate party floor leaders was one of slow evolution, like the House, but they arose for the most part from the post of conference chair. Not until 1945 did Senate Republicans specify that the conference chair and floor leader posts must be held by separate Senators. Among Senate Democrats, the floor leader is also chair of the conference. In many secondary sources, Senators are identified as "floor leaders" before existing party conference records so identify them. In this report, footnotes to the tables attempt to clarify when a leader was identified through official sources such as caucus minutes or through secondary sources.

Party Affiliation Designations

Another problem in identifying party leaders in early Congresses is the matter of party affiliation. Secondary sources reporting on party leaders often relied upon the information compiled in early editions of the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. As the editors of the 1989 edition of the Biographical Directory noted:

The most serious source of error and confusion in previous editions [of the Biographical Directory] [was] the designations of party affiliation. Many of the party labels added to the editions of 1913 and 1928 were anachronistic, claiming for the two modern parties Senators and Representatives elected to Congress before the [modern] Democratic or Republican parties existed. Other entries ignored the frequent shifts in party affiliation during the nineteenth century or omitted reference to short-lived and regional political parties and thus failed to reflect the vigor and diversity of nineteenth-century politics.3

The 1989 and 1997 editions of the Biographical Directory resolved these differences, and their designations of party affiliations are principal sources for this report. The 1997 edition of the Biographical Directory, in particular, included more complete notations where Members changed their party affiliations while serving in Congress.4 The main source for early party affiliations of Senator leaders, principally Presidents pro tempore, is volume four of Senator Robert C. Byrd's The Senate, 1789-1989 (Historical Statistics, 1789-1992).5 An Appendix explains the abbreviations used to denote party affiliations in this report.

Leadership Posts Excluded

The tables in this report exclude some leadership posts in order to render manageable the amount of data provided. Specifically, the Senate and House party conference secretaries and the chairs of party committees (e.g., steering committees, policy committees, committees on committees, and campaign committees) are not presented here. Junior party whips are also not identified. At least since the 1930s in the House, both parties have selected (or allowed the principal whip to designate) subordinate whips. The lack of adequate records makes it almost impossible to identify all deputy whips, regional whips, and zone whips who have been appointed in the past 70 years.

House Positions: Descriptions and Historical Tables

Speaker of the House of Representatives

The position of Speaker is constitutionally specified in Article 1, Section 2. The Speaker is the only party leader who is chosen by a roll-call vote of the full House of Representatives, which occurs after each party has nominated a candidate for the position when a new Congress convenes. House rules give the Speaker various formal duties. These include, for example, administering the oath of office to new Members, signing House-passed bills and resolutions, presiding over the House (and making rulings on the presence of a quorum, points of order, etc.), referring measures to committees, and naming the party's slate of members for certain committee positions. Each party conference cedes additional powers and responsibilities to a Speaker from its own party, including influence over the makeup of certain standing committees. For more information, consult CRS Report 97-780, The Speaker of the House: House Officer, Party Leader, and Representative, by [author name scrubbed], and CRS Report RL30857, Speakers of the House: Elections, 1913-20152017, by [author name scrubbed] and [author name scrubbed].

Table 1. Speakers of the House of Representatives, 1789-2015

2017

Speaker

Party

State

Congress

Dates

Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg

N/A

PA

1st

Apr. 1, 1789- Mar. 3, 1791

Jonathan Trumbull

N/A

CT

2nd

Oct. 24, 1791- Mar. 3, 1793

Frederick A.C. Muhlenberg

N/A

PA

3rd

Dec. 2, 1793- Mar. 3, 1795

Jonathan Dayton

N/A

NJ

4th-5th

Dec. 7, 1795- Mar. 3, 1799

Theodore Sedgwick

N/A

MA

6th

Dec. 2, 1799- Mar. 3, 1801

Nathaniel Macon

N/A

NC

7th-9th

Dec. 7, 1801-Mar. 3, 1807

Joseph B. Varnum

N/A

MA

10th-11th

Oct. 26, 1807- Mar. 3, 1811

Henry Clay

R(DR)a

KY

12th-13th

Nov. 4, 1811- Jan. 19, 1814b

Langdon Cheeves

R(DR)a

SC

13th

Jan. 19, 1814- Mar. 3, 1815

Henry Clay

R(DR)a

KY

14th-16th

Dec. 4, 1815- Oct. 28, 1820c

John W. Taylor

R(DR)a

NY

16th

Nov. 15, 1820- Mar. 3, 1821

Philip Barbour

R(DR)a

VA

17th

Dec. 4, 1821- Mar. 3, 1823

Henry Clay

R(DR)a

KY

18th

Dec. 3, 1823- Mar. 6, 1825d

John W. Taylor

R(DR)a

NY

19th

Dec. 5, 1825- Mar. 3, 1827

Andrew Stevenson

N/A

VA

20th

Dec. 3, 1827- Mar. 3, 1829

Andrew Stevenson

J

VA

21st-23rd

Dec. 7, 1829- June 2, 1834e

John Bell

N/A

TN

23rd

June 2, 1834- Mar. 3, 1835

James K. Polk

J

TN

24th-25th

Dec. 7, 1835- Mar. 3, 1839

Robert M.T. Hunter

W

WA

26th

Dec. 16, 1839- Mar. 3, 1841

John White

W

KY

27th

May 31, 1841- Mar. 3, 1843

John W. Jones

D

VA

28th

Dec. 4, 1843- Mar. 3, 1845

John W. Davis

D

IN

29th

Dec. 1, 1845- Mar. 3, 1847

Robert C. Winthrop

W

MA

30th

Dec. 6, 1847- Mar. 3, 1849

Howell Cobb

D

GA

31st

Dec. 22, 1849- Mar. 3, 1851

Linn Boyd

D

KY

32nd-33rd

Dec. 1, 1851- Mar. 3, 1855

Nathaniel P. Banks

Amf

MA

34th

Feb. 2, 1856- Mar. 3, 1857

James L. Orr

D

SC

35th

Dec. 7, 1857- Mar. 3, 1859

William Pennington

R

NJ

36th

Feb. 1, 1860- Mar. 3, 1861

Galusha A. Grow

R

PA

37th

July 4, 1861- Mar. 3, 1863

Schuyler Colfax

R

IN

38th-40th

Dec. 7, 1863- Mar. 3, 1869g

Theodore Pomeroy

R

NY

40th

Mar. 3, 1869h

James G. Blaine

R

ME

41st-43rd

Mar. 4, 1869- Mar. 3, 1875

Michael C. Kerr

D

IN

44th

Dec. 6, 1875- Aug. 19, 1876i

Samuel J. Randall

D

PA

44th-46th

Dec. 4, 1876- Mar. 3, 1881

J. Warren Keifer

R

OH

47th

Dec. 5, 1881- Mar. 3, 1883

John G. Carlisle

D

KY

48th-50th

Dec. 3, 1883- Mar. 3, 1889

Thomas B. Reed

R

ME

51st

Dec. 2, 1889- Mar. 3, 1891

Charles F. Crisp

D

GA

52nd-53rd

Dec. 7, 1891- Mar. 3, 1895

Thomas B. Reed

R

ME

54th-55th

Dec. 2, 1895- Mar. 3, 1899

David B. Henderson

R

IA

56th-57th

Dec. 4, 1899- Mar. 3, 1903

Joseph G. Cannon

R

IL

58th-61st

Nov. 9, 1903- Mar. 3, 1911

James B. (Champ) Clark

D

MO

62nd-65th

April 4, 1911- Mar. 3, 1919

Frederick H. Gillett

R

MA

66th-68th

May 19, 1919- Mar. 3, 1925

Nicholas Longworth

R

OH

69th-71st

Dec. 7, 1925- Mar. 3, 1931

John N. Garner

D

TX

72nd

Dec. 7, 1931- Mar. 3, 1933

Henry T. Rainey

D

IL

73rd

Mar. 9, 1933- Aug. 19, 1934j

Joseph W. Byrns

D

TN

74th

Jan. 3, 1935- June 4, 1936k

William B. Bankhead

D

AL

74th-76th

June 4, 1936- Sept. 15, 1940l

Sam T. Rayburn

D

TX

76th-79th

Sept. 16, 1940- Jan. 3, 1947m

Joseph W. Martin Jr.

R

MA

80th

Jan. 3, 1947- Jan. 3, 1949

Sam T. Rayburn

D

TX

81st-82nd

Jan. 3, 1949- Jan. 3, 1953

Joseph W. Martin Jr.

R

MA

83rd

Jan. 3, 1953- Jan. 3, 1955

Sam T. Rayburn

D

TX

84th-87th

Jan. 5, 1955- Nov. 16, 1961m

John W. McCormack

D

MA

87th-91st

Jan. 10, 1962- Jan. 3, 1971

Carl Albert

D

OK

92nd-94th

Jan. 21, 1971- Jan. 3, 1977

Thomas P. O'Neill Jr.

D

MA

95th-99th

Jan. 4, 1977- Jan. 3, 1987

James C. Wright Jr.

D

TX

100th-101st

Jan. 6, 1987- June 6, 1989n

Thomas S. Foley

D

WA

101st-103rd

June 6, 1989- Jan. 3, 1995

Newt Gingrich

R

GA

104th-105th

Jan. 4, 1995- Jan. 3, 1999

J. Dennis Hastert

R

IL

106th-109th

Jan. 6, 1999- Jan. 3, 2007

Nancy Pelosi

D

CA

110th-111th

Jan. 4, 2007- Jan. 3, 2012

John A. Boehner

R

OH

112th-114th

Jan. 5, 2011-Oct. 29, 2015o

Paul D. Ryan

R

WI

114th-

Oct. 29, 2015-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources.

Notes: A key to all party abbreviations can be found in the Appendix of this report.

a. Although the Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1996 identifies these Speakers as Republicans, the party designation "Democratic Republicans" is more widely used and familiar to readers. This designation, R(DR), should not be taken to refer to the contemporary Republican Party, which did not emerge until the 1850s.

b. Resigned from the House of Representatives, January 19, 1814.

c. Resigned the speakership on October 28, 1820.

d. Resigned from the House, March 6, 1825.

e. Resigned from the House, June 2, 1834.

f. Speaker Nathaniel P. Banks served in the House three separate times under three different party designations. In the 34th Congress, he served as an American Party Member.

g. Resigned from the House, March 3, 1869.

h. Elected Speaker, March 3, 1869, and served one day.

i. Died in office, August 19, 1876.

j. Died in office, August 19, 1934.

k. Died in office, June 4, 1936.

l. Died in office, September 15, 1940.

m. Died in office, November 16, 1961.

n. Resigned the Speakership, June 6, 1989; resigned from the House, June 30, 1989.

o. Resigned the Speakership, October 29, 2015, upon the election of his successor (and announced his intention to resign from the House at the end of the month).

Party Floor Leader

At an organizational meeting prior to the beginning of a new Congress, each party conference (or caucus) in the House selects its floor leader (also called majority leader or minority leader, as appropriate) in a secret-ballot vote. The majority party floor leader works closely with the Speaker and is largely responsible for the party's daily legislative operations in consultation with other party leaders. Similarly, the minority party floor leader directs the party's ongoing legislative strategies and operations and typically serves as the spokesperson for the party in the House. Each party assigns additional responsibilities to its respective floor leader. For more information on the majority party floor leader position, see CRS Report RL30665, The Role of the House Majority Leader: An Overview, by [author name scrubbed].

Table 2. House Republican Floor Leaders, 1899-2015

2017

Floor Leader

State

Congress

Dates

Sereno E. Payne

NY

56th-61st

1899-1911

James R. Mann

IL

62nd-65th

1911-1919

Franklin W. Mondell

WY

66th-67th

1919-1923

Nicholas Longworth

OH

68th

1923-1925

John Q. Tilson

CT

69th-71st

1925-1931

Bertrand H. Snell

NY

72nd-75th

1931-1939

Joseph W. Martin Jr.

MA

76th-79th

1939-1947

Charles Halleck

IN

80th

1947-1949

Joseph W. Martin Jr.

MA

81st-82nd

1949-1953

Charles Halleck

IN

83rd

1953-1955

Joseph W. Martin Jr.

MA

84th- 85th

1955-1959

Charles Halleck

IN

86th-88th

1959-1965

Gerald R. Ford

MI

89th-93rd

1965-Dec. 6, 1973a

John J. Rhodes

AZ

93rd-96th

Dec. 7, 1973-1981

Robert H. Michel

IL

97th-103rd

1981-1995

Richard K. Armey

TX

104th-107th

1995-2003

Tom DeLay

TX

108th-109th

2003-Sept. 28, 2005b

Roy Blunt

MO

109th

Sept. 28, 2005-Feb. 2, 2006c

John Boehner

OH

109th, 110th-111th

Feb. 2, 2006-2011

Eric Cantor

VA

112th-113th

2011-Jul. 31, 2014d

Kevin McCarthy

CA

113th-

Jul. 31, 2014e-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the floor leader was also majority leader.

a. Resigned from the House on December 6, 1973, after having been confirmed by the Senate to become Vice President to fill the post vacated by the resignation of Spiro T. Agnew.

b. Resigned from leader position on September 28, 2005.

c. Appointed acting Republican floor leader on September 28, 2005, to replace Tom DeLay temporarily until the conference could hold new elections on February 2, 2006. He continued serving as Republican Whip during this period.

d. Resigned from leader position, effective July 31, 2014.

e. On June 19, 2014, elected to the leader position, effective July 31, 2014, due to Eric Cantor's resignation from the post.

Table 3. House Democratic Floor Leaders, 1899-2015

2017

Floor Leader

State

Congress

Dates

James D. Richardson

TN

56th-57th

1899-1903

John Sharp Williams

MS

58th-60th

1903-1908

James B. (Champ) Clark

MO

60th-61st

1908-1911

Oscar W. Underwood

AL

62nd-63rd

1911-1915

Claude Kitchin

NC

64th-65th

1915-1919

James B. (Champ) Clark

MO

66th

1919-1921

Claude Kitchin

NC

67th

1921-1923

Finis J. Garrett

IN

68th-70th

1923-1929

John N. Garner

TX

71st

1929-1931

Henry T. Rainey

IL

72nd

1931-1933

Joseph W. Byrns

TN

73rd

1933-1935

William B. Bankhead

AL

74th

1935-June 4, 1936a

Sam T. Rayburn

TX

75th-76th

1937-Sept. 16, 1940b

John W. McCormack

MA

76th-79th

Sept. 16, 1940-1947c

Sam T. Rayburn

TX

80th

1947-1949

John W. McCormack

MA

81st-82nd

1949-1953

Sam T. Rayburn

TX

83rd

1953-1955

John W. McCormack

MA

84th-87th

1955-Jan. 10, 1962d

Carl Albert

OK

87th-91st

Jan. 10, 1962-1971e

Thomas Hale Boggs

LA

92nd

1971-1973f

Thomas P. O'Neill Jr.

MA

93rd-94th

1973-1977

James Wright

TX

95th-99th

1977-1987

Thomas S. Foley

WA

100th-101st

1987-June 6, 1989g

Richard A. Gephardt

MO

101st-103rd
104th-107th

June 14, 1989h-2003

Nancy Pelosi

CA

108th-109th

2003-2007

Steny H. Hoyer

MD

110th-111th

2007-2011

Nancy Pelosi

CA

112th-

2011-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the floor leader was also majority leader.

a. Elected Speaker, filling the vacancy caused by the death of Speaker Joseph W. Byrns. Records indicate that Representative John J. O'Connor of New York, chair of the House Rules Committee, served as acting majority leader during the 14 remaining days of the 74th Congress. O'Connor does not, however, appear to have been formally elected majority leader at that time and therefore is not included in this list.

b. Elected Speaker following the death of Speaker William B. Bankhead.

c. Elected majority leader on September 16, 1940, to fill post made vacant by the election of Sam Rayburn as Speaker.

d. Elected Speaker at the start of the 87th Congress, 2nd session, following the death of Sam Rayburn.

e. Elected majority leader at commencement of the 87th Congress, 2nd session, when Majority Leader John McCormack was elected Speaker to succeed Speaker Rayburn.

f. Disappeared on a flight from Anchorage to Juneau, Alaska, October 16, 1972. Presumed dead pursuant to House Resolution 1, 93rd Congress.

g. Elected Speaker on June 6, 1989, following Speaker James C. Wright's resignation from that post on the same date.

h. Elected majority leader on June 14, 1989, to fill the post made vacant by the election of Thomas S. Foley to be Speaker on June 6, 1989.

Party Whip

Each House party caucus currently elects its own party whip at organizational meetings as a new Congress begins. House Republicans (or a representative group of their conference) have always elected their party whips; Democrats in the House appointed a chief whip until 1986. Chief deputy whips are currently appointed by the party's chief whip; additional members to serve in the whip team are either similarly appointed or, instead, elected by subsets of the caucus. The whip organization is responsible for assessing the passage prospects for upcoming measures, mobilizing member support for leadership priorities, informing the party rank-and-file regarding legislative scheduling and initiatives, and informing the top party leadership regarding the sentiment of the rank-and-file. For more information, see archived CRS Report RS20499, House Leadership: Whip Organization, by [author name scrubbed].

Table 4. House Democratic Whips, 1901-2015

2017

Whip

State

Congress

Dates

Oscar W. Underwooda

AL

56th

1901

James T. Lloyd

MO

57th-60th

1901-1908b

N/Ac

 

61st-62nd

1909-1913

Thomas M. Bell

GA

63rd

1913-1915

N/Ac

 

64th-65th, 66th

1915-1921

William A. Oldfield

AR

67th-70th

1921-Nov. 19, 1928d

John McDuffie

AL

70th-71st, 72nd

1928-1933

Arthur Greenwood

IN

73rd

1933-1935

Patrick J. Boland

PA

74th-77th

1935-May 18, 1942e

Robert Ramspeck

GA

77th-79th

1942-Dec. 31, 1945f

John J. Sparkman

AL

79th

1946-1947

John W. McCormacka

MA

80th

1947-1949

J. Percy Priest

TN

81st-82nd

1949-1953

John W. McCormacka

MA

83rd

1953-1955

Carl Alberta

OK

84th-87th

1955-1962

Thomas Hale Boggsa

LA

87th-91st

1962-1971

Thomas P. O'Neill Jr.a

MA

92nd

1971-1973

John J. McFall

CA

93rd-94th

1973-1977

John W. Brademas

IN

95th-96th

1977-1981

Thomas S. Foleya

WA

97th-99th

1981-1987

Tony Coelhog

CA

100th-101st

1987-June 14, 1989

William H. Gray III

PA

101st-102nd

June 14, 1989-Sept. 11, 1991h

David E. Bonior

MI

102nd-103rd, 104th-107th

Sept. 11, 1991-Jan. 15, 2002i

Nancy Pelosia

CA

107th-108th

Jan. 15, 2002-2003j

Steny H. Hoyera

MD

108th -109th

2003-2007

James E. Clyburn

SC

110th-111th

2007-2011

Steny H. Hoyer

MD

112th-

2011-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the Democratic whip was the majority whip.

a. Ascended (or re-ascended) to party floor leader.

b. Resigned from position as Democratic whip in 1908 at the conclusion of the 60th Congress.

c. For these periods, there is no official record—in the minutes of the Democratic Caucus or elsewhere—of the name of the Democratic whip. Some scholars believe that Representative Thomas Bell may have been the whip from 1909 to 1919; others believe the whip for that period may have been Representative John Nance Garner. See Randall B. Ripley, "The Party Whip Organizations in the United States House of Representatives," American Political Science Review, vol. 58, September 1964, p. 504.

d. Died in office, November 19, 1928.

e. Died in office, May 18, 1942.

f. Resigned from the House of Representatives, December 31, 1945.

g. Representative Tony Coelho was the first elected Democratic whip.

h. Resigned from the House of Representatives, September 11, 1991.

i. Elected July 11, 1991, but did not assume the House Democratic whip post until his predecessor in the position, William H. Gray III, resigned from Congress on September 11, 1991.

j. Elected on October 10, 2001, but did not assume the position of House Democratic whip until January 15, 2002, the date on which Bonior's resignation as whip became effective.

Table 5. House Republican Whips, 1897-2015

2017

Whip

State

Congress

Dates

James A. Tawney

MN

55th-58th

1897-1905

James E. Watson

IN

59th-60th

1905-1909

John W. Dwight

NY

61st
62nd

1909-1913

Charles H. Burke

SD

63rd

1913-1915

Charles M. Hamilton

WY

64th-65th

1915-1919

Harold Knutson

MN

66th-67th

1919-1923

Albert H. Vestal

IN

68th-71st

1923-1931

Carl G. Bachmann

WV

72nd

1931-1933

Harry L. Englebright

CA

73rd-78th

1933-May 13, 1943a

Leslie C. Arends

IL

78th-79th
80th
81st-82nd
83rd
84th-93rd

1943-1975

Robert H. Michelb

IL

94th-96th

1975-1981

Trent Lott

MS

97th-100th

1981-1989

Dick Cheney

WY

101st

1989-Mar. 17, 1989c

Newt Gingrich

GA

101st-103rd

Mar. 22, 1989-1995c

Tom DeLayb

TX

104th-107th

1995-2003

Roy D. Bluntb

MO

108th-109th
110th

2003d-2009

Eric Cantorb

VA

111th

2009-2011

Kevin McCarthy

CA

112th-113th

2011-July 31, 2014e

Steve Scalise

LA

113th-

July 31, 2014f-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the Republican whip was the majority whip.

a. Died in office, May 13, 1943.

b. Ascended to party floor leader.

c. Elected House Republican whip on March 22, 1989, following Representative Dick Cheney's resignation from the House on March 17, 1989, to become Secretary of Defense.

d. Served concurrently as whip and acting Republican floor leader from September 28, 2005, to February 2, 2006.

e. Resigned as Republican whip on July 31, 2014, upon becoming Republican floor leader.

f. On June 19, 2014, elected to the leader position, effective July 31, 2014, due to Eric Cantor's resignation from the post.

Conference or Caucus Chair

The Republican Conference and the Democratic Caucus are the organizations of the members of the respective parties in the House. Each conference has an elected chair, who presides over its meetings. Decisions made by the conference (and often publicly promulgated by the chair) are generally regarded as the collective sentiment of the respective House party contingent.

Table 6. House Republican Conference Chairs, 1863-2015

2017

Chair

State

Congress

Dates

Justin S. Morrilla

VT

38th-39th

1863-1867

N/Ab

 

40th

1867-1869

Robert C. Schenckc
Nathaniel P. Banksc

OH
MA

41st

1869-1871

Austin Blair

MI

42nd

1871-1873

Horace Maynard

TN

43rd

1873-1875

George W. McCrary

IA

44th

1875-1877

Eugene Hale

ME

45th

1877-1879

William P. Frye

ME

46th

1879-1881

G.M. Robeson

NJ

47th

1881-1883

Joseph G. Cannon

IL

48th-50th

1883-1889

T.J. Henderson

IL

51st
52nd-53rd

1889-1895

Charles H. Grosvenor

OH

54th-55th

1895-1899

Joseph G. Cannon

IL

56th-57th

1899-1903

William P. Hepburn

IA

58th-60th

1903-1909

F.D. Currier

NH

61st
62nd

1909-1913

William S. Greene

MA

63rd-65th

1913-1919

Horace M. Towner

IA

66th-67th

1919-1923

Sydney Anderson

MN

68th

1923-1925

Willis C. Hawley

OR

69th-71st
72nd

1925-1933

Robert Luce

MA

73rd

1933-1935

Frederick R. Lehlbach

NJ

74th

1935-1937

Roy Woodruff

MI

75th-79th
80th
81st

1937-1951

Clifford Hope

KS

82nd
83rd

84th

1951-1957

Charles Hoeven

IA

85th-87th

1957-1963

Gerald R. Ford

MI

88th

1963-1965

Melvin Laird

WI

89th-90th

1965-1969

John B. Anderson

IL

91st-95th

1969-1979

Samuel L. Devine

OH

96th

1979-1981

Jack Kemp

NY

97th-99th

1981-June 4, 1987d

Dick Cheney

WY

100th

June 4, 1987-1989d

Jerry Lewis

CA

101st-102nd

1989-1993

Richard K. Armey

TX

103rd

1993-1995

John A. Boehner

OH

104th-105th

1995-1999

J.C. Watts

OK

106th-107th

1999-2003

Deborah Pryce

OH

108th-109th

2003-2007

Adam Putnam

FL

110th

2007-2009

Mike Pence

IN

111th

2009-2011

Jeb Hensarling

TX

112th

2011-2013

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

WA

113th-

2013-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the Republican Party was in the majority.

a. Representative Justin S. Morrill is the first officially designated Republican caucus chair. There exists no clear evidence of formal chairs of Republican organizations in earlier Congresses.

b. Caucus minutes show three Members (Representatives Nathaniel Banks, Luke Poland, and Samuel Hooper) chairing three separate meetings.

c. Caucus minutes show Representative Robert C. Schenck elected chair but Representative Nathaniel P. Banks chairing two early meetings, possibly in Schenck's absence.

d. On June 4, 1987, Representative Dick Cheney was elected conference chair to succeed Representative Jack Kemp, who resigned from the post.

Table 7. House Democratic Caucus Chairs, 1849-2015

2017

2017-

Chair

State

Congress

Dates

James Thompson

PA

31st

1849-1851

N/Aa

 

32nd

1851-1853

Edson B. Olds

OH

33rd

1853-1855

George W. Jones

TN

34th

1855-1857

N/Ab

 

35th

1857-1859

George S. Houston

AL

36th

1859-1861

N/Ac

 

37th-40th

1861-1869

William E. Niblackd
Samuel J. Randalld

IN
PA

41st

1869-1871

N/Ae

 

42nd

1871-1873

William E. Niblack

IN

43rd

1873-1875

Lucius Q.C. Lamar

MS

44th

1875-1877

Hiester Clymer

PA

45th

1877-1879

John F. House

TN

46th

1879-1881

N/Af

 

47th

1881-1883

George W. Geddes

OH

48th

1883-1885

J. Randolph Tucker

VA

49th

1885-1887

Samuel S. Cox

NY

50th

1887-1889g

William S. Holman

IN

51st
52nd-53rd

1889-1895

David B. Culberson

TX

54th

1895-1897

James D. Richardson

TN

55th

1897-1899

James Hay

VA

56th-58th

1899-1905

Robert L. Henry

TX

59th

1905-1907

Henry D. Clayton

AL

60th-61st

1907-1911h

Albert S. Burleson

TX

62nd

1911-1913h

A. Mitchell Palmer

PA

63rd

1913-1915

E.W. Saunders

VA

64th-65th

1915-1919

Arthur G. Dewalt

PA

66th

1919-1921

Sam T. Rayburn

TX

67th

1921-1923

Henry T. Rainey

IL

68th

1923-1925

Charles D. Carter

OK

69th

1925-1927

Arthur Greenwood

IN

70th

1927-1929

David Kincheloe

KY

71st

1929-1930i

William W. Arnold

IL

72nd

1931-1933

Clarence F. Lea

CA

73rd

1933-1935

Edward T. Taylor

CO

74th

1935-1937

Robert L. Doughton

NC

75th

1937-1939

John W. McCormack

MA

76th

1939-Sept. 16, 1940j

Richard M. Duncan

MO

77th

1941-1943

Harry Sheppard

CA

78th

1943-1945

Jere Cooper

TN

79th

1945-1947

Aime Forand

RI

80th

1947-1949

Francis E. Walter

PA

81st

1949-1951

Jere Cooper

TN

82nd

1951-1953

Wilbur Mills

AR

83rd

1953-1955

John J. Rooney

NY

84th

1955-1957

Melvin Price

IL

85th-86th

1957-1961

Francis E. Walter

PA

87th-88th

1961-May 31, 1963k

Albert Thomas

TX

88th

1964-1965

Eugene Keogh

NY

89th

1965-1967

Dan Rostenkowski

IL

90th-91st

1967-1971

Olin Teague

TX

92nd-93rd

1971-1975

Philip Burton

CA

94th

1975-1977

Thomas S. Foley

WA

95th-96th

1977-1981

Gillis W. Long

LA

97th-98th

1981-1985

Richard Gephardt

MO

99th-100th

1985-1989

William H. Gray III

PA

101st

Jan. 4-June 14, 1989l

Steny H. Hoyer

MD

101st-103rd

June 21, 1989-1995m

Vic Fazio

CA

104th-105th

1995-1999

Martin Frost

TX

106th-107th

1999-2003

Robert Menendez

NJ

108th-109th

2003-Dec. 16, 2005n

James E. Clyburn

SC

109th

Dec. 16, 2005n-2007

Rahm Emanuel

IL

110th

2007-2009

John B. Larson

CT

111th- 112th

2009-2013

Xavier Becerra

CA

113th-

114th

2013-

2017

Joseph Crowley

NY

115th-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the Democratic Party was in the majority.

a. No clear records remain for this Congress. In early practice, the caucus chair often offered the various organizational resolutions at the beginning of a Congress (e.g., the nomination of his party's candidate for Speaker, or the motion to elect the Speaker); examination of these motions can often help in a determination of who was caucus chair. However, several different Democratic Members offered the organizing resolutions for the 31st Congress.

b. No clear data for this period exist.

c. No clear data for this period exist. Representative John Hickman nominated Representative F. P. Blair as Speaker in 1861, but no records show whether Hickman was caucus chair.

d. Representative Samuel J. Randall nominated the party's candidate for Speaker. Caucus records, however, show both Representatives William B. Niblack and Randall as having served as chair during the Congress. The caucus records specify no dates of service.

e. Representative Fernando Wood nominated the Democratic leadership slate in the House, but there is no other evidence to show he was elected caucus chair.

f. Available data show that Representative John F. House offered the Democrats' nomination for Speaker in the 47th Congress. However, later data show Representative W. S. Rosecrans issuing the next call for a Democratic Caucus meeting; there is no evidence to suggest that Rosecrans was actually elected caucus chair.

g. Former Parliamentarian Clarence Cannon's notes state that Representative Samuel J. Cox "died during this Congress and [Representative James B.] McCreary evidently succeeded or acted for him." 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.

h. Caucus records are contradictory for this period. They show the election of Representative James Hay as chair on January 19, 1911, but do not mention a resignation by incumbent chair Henry P. Clayton, nor do they specify that Hay was elected chair for the new Congress. Later, they show the election of Representative Albert S. Burleson on April 11, 1911.

i. Resigned from the House, October 5, 1930; there is no record of an election to fill the vacancy as caucus chair.

j. 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.

k. Died in office, May 31, 1963. Caucus chair post vacant until January 21, 1964.

l. Representative William H. Gray III vacated the caucus chair post when he was elected Democratic whip on June 14, 1989.

m. Representative Steny H. Hoyer was elected caucus chair on June 21, 1989, following the June 14, 1989, election of Representative William H. Gray as Democratic whip.

n. Representative Robert Menendez resigned from the House on January 16, 2006, after being appointed to the Senate seat for New Jersey vacated by Jon Corzine when he was elected governor. Representative Menendez had previously resigned from the caucus chair position, to which Representative James E. Clyburn was elected on December 16, 2005.

Senate Positions: Descriptions and Historical Tables

President Pro Tempore of the Senate

Pursuant to Article 1, Section 3, of the U.S. Constitution, the President pro tempore of the Senate is the chamber's presiding officer in the absence of the President of the Senate (the Vice President of the United States). The President pro tempore is elected by the full Senate as the formal institutional leader and, in current practice, is the longest-serving member of the majority party.6 Until 1890, the Senate elected a President pro tempore whenever the Vice President was not in attendance, whether for a day or permanently, as in the case of the Vice President's death or resignation. When the Vice President returned, the President pro tempore lost his place. When the Vice President was again absent, the Senate again elected a President pro tempore—in many cases the same Senator who had been chosen before. By the standing order agreed to on March 12, 1890, the Senate declared that the President pro tempore shall hold the office during "the pleasure of the Senate and until another is elected, and shall execute the duties thereof during all future absences of the Vice President until the Senate does otherwise order."7

The Senate's President pro tempore is, pursuant to statute, currently third in the line of presidential succession (behind the Vice President and the Speaker of the House). In the Succession Act of 1792, the position was initially designated to serve in line after the Vice President.8 An 1886 act altered the succession line by replacing congressional leaders with cabinet secretaries, but the President pro tempore post was reinstated in the line (in the current position) in 1947.9

As presiding officer, the President pro tempore has the power to decide points of order and enforce decorum on the floor. The President pro tempore has other formal powers (e.g., appointing conferees; appointing certain Senate officers; and serving on, or appointing others to, working groups, commissions, and advisory boards). However, because the direction of Senate business has fallen in modern times to the majority leader, almost all of these powers are actually exercised by the majority leader in practice.

As explained in the notes to Table 9 and Table 10 below, the Senate has also had past occasion to select a Deputy President pro tempore and a Permanent Acting President pro tempore. For more information on the President pro tempore (and the deputy and acting posts), consult CRS Report RL30960, The President Pro Tempore of the Senate: History and Authority of the Office, by [author name scrubbed].

Table 8. Presidents Pro Tempore of the Senate, 1789-2015

2017

Name

Party

State

Congress

Date Elected

John Langdon

Pro-Admin

NH

1st

Apr. 6, 1789

Richard Henry Lee

Anti-Admin

VA

2nd

Apr. 18, 1792

John Langdon

Pro-Admin

NH

2nd

Nov. 5, 1792

Mar. 1, 1793

Ralph Izard

Pro-Admin

SC

3rd

May 31, 1794

Henry Tazewell

Anti-Admin

R(DR)a

VA

3rd

4th

Feb. 20, 1795

Dec. 7, 1795

Samuel Livermore

F

NH

4th

May 6, 1796

William Bingham

F

PA

4th

Feb. 16, 1797

William Bradford

F

RI

5th

July 6, 1797

Jacob Read

F

SC

5th

Nov. 22, 1797

Theodore Sedgwick

F

MA

5th

June 27, 1798

John Laurance

F

NY

5th

Dec. 6, 1798

James Ross

F

PA

5th

Mar. 1, 1799

Samuel Livermore

F

NH

6th

Dec. 22, 1799

Uriah Tracy

F

CT

6th

May 14, 1800

John E. Howard

F

MD

6th

Nov. 21, 1800

James Hillhouse

F

CT

6th

Feb. 28, 1801

Abraham Baldwin

R

GA

7th

Dec. 7, 1801

Stephen R. Bradley

R(DR)a

VT

7th

Dec. 14, 1802

Feb. 25, 1803

Mar. 2, 1803

John Brown

Anti-Admin

KY

8th

Oct. 17, 1803

Jan. 23, 1804

Jesse Franklin

R(DR)a

NC

8th

Mar. 10, 1804

Joseph Anderson

R(DR)a

TN

8th

Jan. 15, 1805

Feb. 28, 1805

Mar. 2, 1805

Samuel Smith

R(DR)a

MD

9th

10th

Dec. 2, 1805

Mar. 18, 1806

Mar. 2, 1807

Apr. 16, 1808

Stephen R. Bradley

R(DR)a

VT

10th

Dec. 28, 1808

John Milledge

R(DR)a

GA

10th

Jan. 30, 1809

Andrew Gregg

R(DR)a

PA

11th

June 26, 1809

John Gaillard

R(DR)a

SC

11th

Feb. 28, 1810

Apr. 17, 1810

John Pope

R(DR)a

KY

11th

Feb. 23, 1811

William H. Crawford

R(DR)a

GA

12th

Mar. 24, 1812

Joseph B. Varnum

R(DR)a

MA

13th

Dec. 6, 1813

John Gaillard

R(DR)a

SC

13th

14th

15th

Apr. 18, 1814

Nov. 25, 1814b

[no election]

Mar. 6, 1817

Mar. 31, 1918

James Barbour

R(DR)a

VA

15th

16th

Feb. 15, 1819

[no election]

John Gaillard

R(DR)a

CRR
J

SC

16th

17th

18th

19th

Jan. 25, 1820

Feb. 1, 1822

Feb. 19, 1823

May 21, 1824

Mar. 9, 1825

Nathaniel Macon

J

NC

19th

May 20, 1826

Jan. 2, 1827

Mar. 2, 1827

Samuel Smith

J

MD

20th

21st

May 15, 1828

Mar. 13, 1829

May 29, 1830

Mar. 1, 1831

Littleton Tazewell

J

VA

22nd

July 9, 1832

Hugh L. White

J

TN

22nd

23rd

Dec. 3, 1832

[no election]

George Poindexter

AJ

MS

23rd

June 28, 1834

John Tyler

AJ

VA

23rd

Mar. 3, 1835

William R. King

J

D

AL

24th

25th

26th

27th

July 1, 1836

Jan. 28, 1837

Mar. 7, 1837

Oct. 13, 1837

July 2, 1838

Feb. 25, 1839

July 3, 1840

Mar. 3, 1841

Mar. 4, 1841

Samuel Southard

W

NJ

27th

Mar. 11, 1841

Willie P. Mangum

W

NC

27th

28th

May 31, 1842

[no election]

Ambrose H. Sevier

D

AR

29th

Dec. 27, 1845c

David R. Atchison

D

MO

29th

30th

31st

Aug. 8, 1846

Jan. 11, 1847

Mar. 3, 1847

Feb. 2, 1848

June 1, 1848

June 26, 1848

July 29, 1848

Dec. 26, 1848

Mar. 2, 1849

Mar. 5, 1849

Mar. 16, 1849

William R. King

D

AL

31st

32nd

May 6, 1850

July 11, 1850

[no election]

David R. Atchison

D

MO

32nd

33rd

Dec. 20, 1852

Mar. 4, 1853

Lewis Cass

D

MI

33rd

Dec. 4, 1854

Jesse D. Bright

D

IN

33rd

34th

Dec. 5, 1854

June 11, 1856

Charles E. Stuart

D

MI

34th

June 9, 1856

James M. Mason

D

VA

34th

35th

Jan. 6, 1857

Mar. 4, 1857

Thomas J. Rusk

D

TX

35th

Mar. 14, 1857

Benjamin Fitzpatrick

D

AL

35th

36th

Dec. 7, 1857

Mar. 29, 1858

June 14, 1858

Jan. 25, 1858

Mar. 9, 1859

Dec. 19, 1859

Feb. 20, 1860

Jesse D. Bright

D

IN

36th

June 12, 1860

Benjamin Fitzpatrick

D

AL

36th

June 26, 1860

Solomon Foot

R

VT

36th

37th

38th

Feb. 16, 1861

Mar. 23, 1861

July 18, 1861

Jan. 15, 1862

Mar. 31, 1862

June 19, 1862

Feb. 18, 1863

Mar. 4, 1863

Dec. 18, 1863

Feb. 23, 1864

Apr. 11, 1864

Daniel Clark

R

NH

38th

Apr. 26, 1864

Feb. 9, 1865

Lafayette S. Foster

R

CT

39th

Mar. 7, 1865

Benjamin F. Wade

R

OH

39th

40th

Mar. 2, 1867

[no election]

Henry B. Anthony

R

RI

41st

42nd

Mar. 23, 1869

Apr. 9, 1869

May 28, 1870

July 1, 1870

July 14, 1870

Mar. 10, 1871

Apr. 17, 1871

May 23, 1871

Dec. 21, 1871

Feb. 23, 1872

June 8, 1872

Dec. 4, 1872

Dec. 13, 1872

Dec. 20, 1872

Jan. 24, 1873

Matthew H. Carpenter

R

WI

43rd

Mar. 12, 1873

Mar. 26, 1873

Dec. 11, 1873

Dec. 23, 1874

Henry B. Anthony

R

RI

43rd

Jan. 25, 1875

Feb. 15, 1875

Thomas W. Ferry

R

MI

44th

45th

Mar. 9, 1875

Mar. 19, 1875

Dec. 20, 1875

Mar. 5, 1877

Feb. 26, 1878

Apr. 17, 1878

Mar. 3, 1879

Allen G. Thurman

D

OH

46th

Apr. 15, 1879

Apr. 7, 1880

May 6, 1880

Thomas F. Bayard Sr.

D

DE

47th

Oct. 10, 1881

David Davis

I

IL

47th

Oct. 13, 1881

George F. Edmonds

R

VT

47th

48th

Mar. 3, 1883

Jan. 14, 1884

John Sherman

R

OH

49th

Dec. 7, 1885

John J. Ingalls

R

KS

49th

50th

51st

Feb. 25, 1887

[no election]

Mar. 7, 1889

Apr. 2, 1889

Feb. 28, 1890

Apr. 3, 1890d

Charles F. Manderson

R

NE

51st-53rd

Mar. 2, 1891

Isham G. Harris

D

TN

53rd

Mar. 22, 1893

Matt W. Ransom

D

NC

53rd

Jan. 7, 1895

Isham G. Harris

D

TN

53rd

Jan. 10, 1895

William P. Frye

R

ME

54th-56th

57th-59th

60th-62nd

Feb. 7, 1896

Mar. 7, 1901

Dec. 5, 1907

Charles Curtis

R

KS

62nd

Dec. 4, 1911

Augustus O. Bacon

D

GA

62nd

Jan. 15, 1912

Jacob H. Gallinger

R

NH

62nd

Feb. 12, 1912

Henry Cabot Lodge Sr.

R

MA

62nd

Mar. 25, 1912

Frank B. Brandegee

R

CT

62nd

May 25, 1912

James P. Clarke

D

AR

63rd

64th

Mar. 13, 1913

Dec. 6, 1915

Willard Saulsbury Jr.

D

DE

64th-65th

Dec. 14, 1916

Albert B. Cummins

R

IA

66th

67th-69th

May 19, 1919

Mar. 7, 1921

George H. Moses

R

NH

69th

70th-72nd

Mar. 6, 1925

Dec. 15, 1927

Key Pittman

D

NV

73rd

74th-76th

Mar. 9, 1933

Jan. 7, 1935

William H. King

D

UT

76th

Nov. 19, 1940

Pat Harrison

D

MS

77th

Jan. 6, 1941

Carter Glass

D

VA

77th

78th

July 10, 1941

Jan. 5, 1943

Kenneth D. McKellar

D

TN

79th

Jan. 6, 1945

Arthur Vandenberg

R

MI

80th

Jan. 4, 1947

Kenneth D. McKellar

D

TN

81st-82nd

Jan. 3, 1949

Styles Bridges

R

NH

83rd

Jan. 3, 1953

Walter F. George

D

GA

84th

Jan. 5, 1955

Carl T. Hayden

D

AZ

85th-90th

Jan. 3, 1957

Richard B. Russell Jr.

D

GA

91st-92nd

Jan. 3, 1969

Allen J. Ellender

D

LA

92nd

Jan. 22, 1971

James O. Eastland

D

MS

92nd-95th

July 28, 1972

Warren G. Magnuson

D

WA

96th

Jan. 15, 1979

Milton R. Young

R

ND

96th

Dec. 4, 1980

Strom Thurmond

R

SC

97th-99th

Jan. 5, 1981

John C. Stennis

D

MS

100th

Jan. 6, 1987

Robert C. Byrd

D

WV

101st-103rd

Jan. 3, 1989

Strom Thurmond

R

SC

104th-106th

Jan. 4, 1995

Robert C. Byrd

D

WV

107th

Jan. 3, 2001e

Strom Thurmond

R

SC

107th

Jan. 3, 2001e

Robert C. Byrdf

D

WV

107th

June 6, 2001

Ted Stevens

R

AK

108th-109th

Jan. 7, 2003

Robert C. Byrd

D

WV

110th-111th

Jan. 4, 2007g

Daniel K. Inouye

D

HI

111th-112th

June 28, 2010h

Patrick J. Leahy

D

VT

112th-113th

Dec. 17, 2012

Orrin G. Hatch

R

UT

114th

-

Jan. 6, 2015

Sources: The principal source for this table is Byrd's Historical Statistics, pp. 647-653. See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources.

Notes: A key to party abbreviations can be found in the Appendix of this report. Note that several Senators holding the President pro tempore position were members of (or identified with) different political parties during their congressional careers. This table lists the party with which each individual was affiliated at the time of his service as President pro tempore. In cases in which the historical sources indicate a party "switch" in the midst of a calendar year (without a specific date), it is presumed that the party switch coincided with the beginning of a new Congress.

a. Although the Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1996 identifies these Presidents pro tempore as Republicans, the party designation "Democratic Republicans" is more widely used and familiar to readers. This designation, R(DR), should not be taken to refer to the contemporary Republican Party, which did not emerge until the 1850s.

b. Senator John Gaillard was elected after the death of Vice President Elbridge Gerry on November 23, 1814, and continued to serve throughout the 14th Congress, as there was no Vice President.

c. There was no actual election. Senator Ambrose H. Sevier was "permitted to occupy the chair for the day." In their table of Presidents pro tempore, Gerald Gamm and Steven S. Smith do not include Sevier's service. See Gerald Gamm and Steven S. Smith, "Last Among Equals," Table 1: Presidents Pro Tempore of the Senate, p.13.

d. As noted above, in March 1890, the Senate adopted a resolution stating that Presidents pro tempore would hold office continuously until the election of another President pro tempore rather than being elected only for the period in which the Vice President was absent. That system has continued to the present.

e. When the 107th Congress convened on January 3, 2001, Republican George W. Bush had been elected President. Richard B. Cheney, Vice President-elect, would not be sworn in until January 20, 2001. As a consequence, the Senate was evenly divided, 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans. When Congress convened on January 3, 2001, Vice President Al Gore, a Democrat, remained as President of the Senate, providing Senate Democrats with an effective majority of one. On January 3, 2001, the Senate adopted S.Res. 3, which provided for the election of Democratic Senator Robert C. Byrd to serve as President pro tempore from January 3 until the inauguration of President Bush and Vice President Cheney at noon on January 20, at which time Republican Senator Strom Thurmond would assume the office of President pro tempore. See "Election of the Honorable Robert C. Byrd as President Pro Tempore and Election of the Honorable Strom Thurmond as President Pro Tempore," Congressional Record, vol. 147 (January 3, 2001), p. 7.

f. Party control in the Senate shifted with the decision in May, 2001 of Senator Jim Jeffords to leave the Republican Party and to become an Independent, caucusing with Senate Democrats. On June 6, the Senate agreed to S.Res. 100, electing Senator Byrd President pro tempore once again.

g. Senator Robert C. Byrd died on June 28, 2010. That day, the Senate adopted S.Res. 567, electing Senator Daniel K. Inouye President pro tempore.

h. Senator Daniel K. Inouye died on December 17, 2012. That day, the Senate adopted S.Res. 619, electing Senator Patrick J. Leahy President pro tempore.

The Senate has, on occasion, created special offices connected to the position of President pro tempore. These two positions—detailed below—were created for specific individuals under narrow circumstances and are not currently in use.

Deputy Presidents Pro Tempore

Pursuant to S.Res. 17 (95th Congress), agreed to January 10, 1977, the Senate established (effective January 5, 1977) the post of Deputy President pro tempore of the Senate to be held by "any Member of the Senate who has held the Office of President of the United States or Vice President of the United States." Senator Hubert H. Humphrey was Deputy President pro tempore until his death on January 13, 1978. In the 100th Congress, due to concerns over the health of the President pro tempore, Senator John S. Stennis, the Senate agreed on January 28, 1987, to S.Res. 90, authorizing the Senate to designate a Senator to serve as Deputy President pro tempore during that Congress in addition to Senators who hold such office under the authority of S.Res. 17 (95th Congress). Accordingly, on the same date, the Senate agreed to S.Res. 91 (100th Congress), designating Senator George H. Mitchell Deputy President pro tempore.

Table 9. Deputy Presidents Pro Tempore of the Senate, 1977-2015

2017

Deputy President
Pro Tempore

Party

State

Congress

Dates

Hubert H. Humphrey

D

MN

95th

Jan. 5, 1977-Jan. 13, 1978

George J. Mitchell

D

ME

100th

Jan. 28, 1987-Nov. 29, 1988a

a. Senator Mitchell served as Deputy President pro tempore until he was elected majority leader for the 101st Congress on November 29, 1988.

Permanent Acting President Pro Tempore

This post was initially established in 1963 after Senate Majority Leader Michael J. Mansfield became concerned that the stamina of then-President pro tempore Senator Carl T. Hayden would be overly taxed by presiding over the prolonged debate on civil rights legislation. In response, the Senate adopted S.Res. 232 and S.Res. 238 (88th Congress), making Senator Lee Metcalf Acting President pro tempore from December 9, 1963, until the meeting of the second session of the 88th Congress. Continuing concerns over the presiding officer's responsibilities led the Senate, on February 7, 1964, to authorize Senator Metcalf "to perform the duties of the Chair as Acting President pro tempore until otherwise ordered by the Senate" via S.Res. 296 (88th Congress). Senator Metcalf held the post throughout his remaining 14 years in the Senate.

Table 10. Permanent Acting President Pro Tempore
of the Senate, 1964-2015

2017

Permanent Acting
President Pro Tempore

Party

State

Congress

Dates

Lee Metcalf

D

MT

88th-95th

Feb. 7, 1964-Jan. 12, 1978

Party Floor Leader

Each Senate party conference selects its floor leader (also called majority leader or minority leader, as appropriate) in a secret-ballot vote at its organizational meeting prior to the beginning of a new Congress. While these positions developed later than (and arose from) the post of conference chair, they now represent the top post in each party. The majority leader is the lead spokesperson for the party in the chamber and is also responsible for scheduling the legislative activity of the Senate. By precedent established in 1937, the majority leader is afforded priority recognition on the floor. The minority leader leads and speaks for the minority party and is consulted by the majority leader in scheduling Senate floor activity; he also has preferential floor recognition, after the majority leader. The rules of each party conference assign additional responsibilities to each floor leader, as well. In current practice, the floor leader for Senate Democrats also serves as the party's conference chair. (See next section for description of conference chair positions.)

Table 11. Senate Republican Floor Leaders, 1919-2015

2017

Floor Leader

State

Congress

Dates

Henry Cabot Lodge Sr.a,b,c

MA

66th-68th

1919-Nov. 9, 1924d

Charles Curtisa,e

KS

68th-70th

Nov. 28, 1924-1929

James E. Watsona

IN

71st-72nd

1929-1933

Charles L. McNarya

OR

73rd-78th

1933-Feb. 25, 1944f

Wallace H. White Jr.

ME

79th

80th

1945-1949

Kenneth S. Wherry

NE

81st-82nd

1949-Nov. 29, 1951g

Styles Bridges

NH

82nd

1952-1953

Robert A. Taft

OH

83rd

1953-July 31, 1953h

William F. Knowland

CA

83rd

84th-85th

Aug. 4, 1953-1959

Everett Dirksen

IL

86th-91st

1959-Sept. 7, 1969i

Hugh Scott

PA

91st-94th

Sept. 24, 1969-1977

Howard H. Baker

TN

95th-96th

97th-98th

1977-1985

Robert H. Dole

KS

99th

100th-103rd

104th

1985-June 11, 1996j

Trent Lott

MS

104th-106th

107th

June 12, 1996 - Dec. 20, 2002k

William H. Frist

TN

108th-109th

Dec. 23, 200l-2007

Mitch McConnell

KY

110th-113th

114th-

2007-

Sources: The principal source for this table is Byrd's Historical Statistics, p. 505, with some details provided by Riddick, Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate, pp. 1-11. See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the floor leader was also majority leader for at least half of the Congress. For example, while the Republicans began the 107th Congress with a controlling majority, party control switched to the Democrats in June of the first session; the 107th Congress is therefore treated as being under Democratic party control in these tables, where applicable.

a. Indicates a leader who was also conference chair. Prior to 1945, the Republican conference chair and floor leader positions were held by the same individual.

b. While Byrd's volume provisionally lists Republican Conference Chair Henry Cabot Lodge Sr. as the first Republican floor leader in practice, some sources treat two previous conference chairs as floor leaders in practice. For example, Riddick includes (in Table III, Seniority of Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate, p.11) conference chairs Senator Shelby M. Cullom as majority leader from 1911 to 1913 and Senator Jacob H. Gallinger as minority leader from 1913 until his death on August 17, 1918.

c. Elected conference chair in the 65th Congress on August 24, 1918, to replace Senator Gallinger. Senator Lodge was not officially a floor leader; he was simply reelected to the conference chair post in 1919, and the party had not yet employed the designation floor leader. Scholarly opinion is that his role in the 66th to 68th Congresses, for all intents and purposes, was that of the floor leader, however. Byrd's volume provisionally lists him as the first majority leader (Table 4-6, p. 506); Riddick includes him in Table III, p.11. Also see Widenor, "Henry Cabot Lodge: The Astute Parliamentarian," for additional supporting details.

d. Died in office, November 9, 1924.

e. Senator Charles Curtis was elected conference chair on November 28, 1924, to replace Senator Henry Cabot Lodge Sr., who died on November 9. On March 5, 1925, the Republican conference also designated him as floor leader, the first Senator to hold the title.

f. Senator Charles L. McNary died on February 25, 1944. There is no reference in congressional sources to the formal selection of a new Republican floor leader during the 78th Congress. In his article summarizing "The Second Session of the Seventy-Eighth Congress (January 10-December 18, 1944)," American Political Science Review, vol. 39 (April 1945), pp. 317-336, Floyd Riddick makes no mention of McNary's death or the selection of a successor.

g. Died in office, November 29, 1951.

h. Died in office, July 31, 1953.

i. Died in office, September 7, 1969.

j. Resigned from Senate, June 11, 1996.

k. Elected June 12, 1996, to replace Senator Robert H. Dole and resigned from majority leader post, December 20, 2002.

l. Elected December 23, 2002, to replace Senator Trent Lott.

Table 12. Senate Democratic Floor Leaders and Conference Chairs, 1893-2015

2017
2017-

Floor Leader

State

Congress

Dates

Arthur P. Gormana,b

MD

53rd
54th-55th

1893-1898

N/Ac

 

55th-56th

1898-1901

John T. Morganb

AL

57th

1901-1902

James K. Jonesb

AR

57th

1902-1903

Arthur P. Gormand

MD

58th-59th

1903-June 4, 1906e

Joseph C.S. Blackburnf

KY

59th

June 9, 1906-1907g

Charles A. Culberson

TX

60th

1907-1909

Hernando D. Money

MS

61st

1909-1911

Thomas S. Martinf

VA

62nd

1911-1913

John Worth Kernf

IN

63rd-64th

1913-1917

Thomas S. Martin

VA

65th

66th

1917-Nov. 12, 1919h

Oscar W. Underwoodf

AL

66th-67th

Apr. 27, 1920-1923i

Joseph T. Robinson

AR

68th-75th

73rd-75th

1923-July 14, 1937j

Alben W. Barkley

KY

75th-79th

80th

July 22, 1937-1949k

Scott W. Lucas

IL

81st

1949-1951

Ernest W. McFarland

AZ

82nd

1951-1953

Lyndon B. Johnson

TX

83rd

84th-86th

1953-1961

Mike Mansfield

MT

87th-94th

1961-1977

Robert C. Byrd

WV

95th-96th
97th-99th
100th

1977-1989

George J. Mitchell

ME

101st-103rd

1989-1995

Tom Daschlel

SD

104th-106th
107th
108th

1995-2005

Harry Reid

NV

109th
110th-113th
114th-

2005-2017

Charles E. Schumer

NY

115th-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources. The principal source for this table is Byrd's Historical Statistics, p. 503. Some additional details are from Riddick's Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate, pp. 1-11. The Senate Democratic Caucus officially changed its name to the Democratic Conference in 1925.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the floor leader was also majority leader for at least half of the Congress. For example, while the Republicans began the 107th Congress with a controlling majority, party control switched to the Democrats in June of the first session; the 107th Congress is therefore treated as being under Democratic Party control in these tables, where applicable.

a. Byrd's identification of the first Democratic Conference chair begins with Senator Gorman in the 58th Congress. Other sources, however, rely on unofficial records to give Gorman that title in the 53rd Congress, with Senators Morgan and Jones identified as such in later Congresses (after a period in which reliable sources do not exist); see, for example, Riddick, Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate, Table I, p. 7.

b. Riddick identifies Senator Gorman as the first Democratic Conference chair in 1893, though Byrd does not designate him as such until the 58th Congress. This is also the case with the designations of Senators Morgan in 1901 and Jones in 1902.

c. No reliable records from the caucus exist for this period.

d. Senator Gorman's designation as conference chair in the 58th Congress is the first that can be confirmed from official caucus minutes.

e. Died June 4, 1906.

f. Secondary sources generally identify Senator Kern as the first Democratic floor leader in the modern sense of the term. See, for example, Oleszek, "John Worth Kern," p. 10. Others have made a case for designating Senator Blackburn as the first, since he was referred to as the Democrats' "chosen official leader" in a congratulatory resolution. See Riddick, p. 3. Still others consider Senator Martin an early floor leader; see Oleszek, "John Worth Kern," note 13. Senator Underwood is the first person to be officially called floor leader in minutes of the party conference, so some sources (e.g., Byrd) treat him as the first Democratic floor leader.

g. Elected June 9, 1906.

h. Died November 12, 1919. An initial caucus vote to replace Senator Martin resulted in a tie between Senator Gilbert M. Hitchcock and Senator Underwood. Hitchcock was briefly acting leader until Underwood was elected in April of 1920. See Riddick, p. 9, note 2.

i. Elected April 27, 1920.

j. Died July 14, 1937.

k. Elected July 22, 1937.

l. In the 107th Congress, Senator Daschle became majority leader on June 6, 2001, following a change in party control of the Senate from Republican to Democratic.

Conference Chair

Each party has a conference organization consisting of all the elected Senators from that party; it is the main body through which the party contingent at large decides and communicates its legislative priorities. While each party's conference chair posts were the first formal party leadership positions in the Senate, eventually floor leader positions were established as uppermost in each party's leadership hierarchy. Since 1945, Republicans have elected their conference chairs separately from other leadership posts, but the elected Democratic floor leader also serves as chair of the Democratic Conference. (See Table 12 for the list of Democratic floor leaders/conference chairs.)

Table 13. Senate Republican Conference Chairs, 1893-2015

2017

Chair

State

Congress

Dates

John Shermana

OH

53rd
54th

1893-1897

William B. Allison

IA

55th-56th

1897-1901b

Eugene Hale

ME

57th

1901-1902

Orville Platt

CT

57th

1902-1903c

Eugene Hale

ME

58th

1903-1904

William B. Allison

IA

58th-59th

1904-1906

Eugene Hale

ME

59th

1906-1907

William B. Allisond

IA

59th

1907-1908

Nelson W. Aldrich

RI

60th

1908-1909

Eugene Hale

ME

60th-61st

1909-1910

Shelby M. Cullom

IL

61st-62nd

1910-1913

Jacob H. Gallinger

NH

63rd-65th

1913-1918

Henry Cabot Lodge Sr.e

MA

65th
66th-68th

1918-1924

Charles Curtise

KS

68th-70th

1924-1929

James E. Watsone

IN

71st-72nd

1929-1932

Charles L. McNarye

OR

73rd-78th

1933-1944

Arthur H. Vandenberg

MI

79th

1945-1946

Eugene D. Millikin

CO

80th 81st-82nd
83rd
84th

1947-1956

Leverett Saltonstall

MA

85th-89th

1957-1966

Margaret Chase Smith

ME

90th-92nd

1967-1972

Norris Cotton

NH

93rd

1973-1974

Carl T. Curtis

NE

94th-95th

1975-1978

Robert Packwood

OR

96th

1979-1980

James A. McClure

ID

97th-98th

1981-1984

John Chafee

RI

99th
101st

1985-1990

Thad Cochran

MS

102nd-103rd
104th

1991-1996

Connie Mack

FL

105th-106th

1997-2000

Richard J. Santorum

PA

107th
108th-109th

2001-2006

Jon L. Kyl

AZ

110th

2007-Dec. 6, 2007f

Lamar Alexander

TN

110th-112th

Dec. 6, 2007f-Jan. 26, 2012g

John Thune

SD

112th-113th
114th-

Jan. 26, 2012-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources. The principal source for this table is Byrd's Historical Statistics, p. 502. Additional detail is from Riddick, Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate, pp. 7-9. Records of the Republican Conference are extant only from 1911. Secondary sources (see Riddick, pp. 7-9) provide information for years prior to 1893. Rothman, in his work, claims that Senator Henry B. Anthony served as Republican caucus chair for an undetermined number of years beginning in 1869 and that Senator George Franklin Edmunds served as chair from 1885 to 1891. See David J. Rothman, Politics and Power: The United States Senate, 1869-1901, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1966, pp. 6, 28-30.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the Republican Party was in the majority for at least half of the Congress. For example, while the Republicans began the 107th Congress with a controlling majority, party control switched to the Democrats in June of the first session; the 107th Congress is therefore treated as being under Democratic Party control in these tables, where applicable. Except for those individuals who also served as floor leader (as designated in next note), sources do not provide specific dates of conference chair service (e.g., when there was a death or resignation and, as a result, a mid-session election was held). Therefore, this table provides only years of service for each conference chair and gives no specific dates for transitions that occurred within a session.

a. Riddick indicates that secondary sources confirm Sherman as the first Republican conference chair (Table I, p. 7); Byrd starts his list (Table 4-1, p. 502) with Allison's tenure in the 55th Congress but notes Sherman's previous tenure in a footnote.

b. Byrd lists Senator Allison's tenure in the position as 1897-1901, but Riddick maintains that reliable records do not exist for 1898 to 1901.

c. Using unofficial sources, Riddick (Table I, p. 7) indicates that Senator George H. Hoar was briefly conference chair in 1903. Byrd does not include him.

d. Using unofficial sources, Riddick (Table I, p. 7) indicates that Senator Allison was chair; Byrd does not include him.

e. Indicates individuals who were simultaneously identified as the floor leader. See Table 11 of this report.

f. Senator Jon L. Kyl was elected party whip on December 6, 2007; Senator Lamar Alexander was elected on that day to serve as conference chair.

g. In September, 2011, Senator Lamar Alexander announced his intention to resign from the post, effective January, 2012. Senator John Thune was elected to the position on December 13, 2011, effective January 26, 2012.

Party Whip

Senate Democrats first selected a party whip in 1913; Republicans followed in 1915. Some accounts of these early selections imply that the individuals were initially appointed, but other contemporary accounts refer to conference elections for the posts. (Republicans first formally codified their conference procedures in 1944, making it clear that the whip post was elected by the conference.) Today, each party conference elects a party whip, who is also known in the Senate as (sometimes called the assistant majority leader or assistant minority leader, depending on the party). Typically, deputy whips are also appointed to assist the whip operation. The whips communicate leadership priorities to the party rank-and-file (and vice versa), provide leaders an assessment of member support for (or opposition to) pending legislative matters, and mobilize support for leadership-supported measures under consideration. For more information, see archived CRS Report RS20887, Senate Leadership: Whip Organization, by [author name scrubbed].

Table 14. Senate Democratic Whips, 1913-2015

2017

Whip

State

Congress

Dates

James Hamilton Lewisa

IL

63rd-65th

1913-1919

Peter G. Gerry

RI

66th-70th

1919-1929

Morris Sheppard

TX

71st-72nd

1929-1933

James Hamilton Lewis

IL

73rd-75th

1933-1939

Sherman Minton

IN

76th

1939-1941

J. Lister Hill

AL

77th-79th

1941-1947

Scott W. Lucasb

IL

80th

1947-1949

Francis J. Myers

PA

81st

1949-1951

Lyndon B. Johnsonb

TX

82nd

1951-1953

Earle C. Clements

KY

83rd
84th

1953-1957

Mike Mansfieldb

MT

85th-86th

1957-1961

Hubert H. Humphrey

MN

87th-88th

1961-1965

Russell B. Long

LA

89th-90th

1965-1969

Edward M. Kennedy

MA

91st

1969-1971

Robert C. Byrdb

WV

92nd-94th

1971-1977

Alan Cranston

CA

95th-96th
97th-99th
100th-101st

1977-1991

Wendell H. Ford

KY

102nd-103rd
104th-105th

1991-1999

Harry Reidb

NV

106th
107th
108th

1999-2005

Richard J. Durbin

IL

109th
110th-113th
114th-

2005-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources. The principal source for this table is Byrd's Historical Statistics, p. 509, with additional detail drawn from Oleszek, Majority and Minority Whips of the Senate.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the Democratic whip was also the majority whip for at least half of the Congress. For example, while the Republicans began the 107th Congress with a controlling majority, party control switched to the Democrats in June of the first session; the 107th Congress is therefore treated as being under Democratic Party control in these tables, where applicable.

a. Senator James Hamilton Lewis became the first Democratic Party whip in 1913. In the Congressional Record, Lewis himself referred to his "appointment," but a press account the next year said he was elected. See Oleszek, Majority and Minority Whips of the Senate, p. 4.

b. Indicates individuals who later advanced to floor leader.

Table 15. Senate Republican Whips, 1915-2015

2017

Whip

State

Congress

Dates

James W. Wadsworth Jr.a

NY

64th

1915

Charles Curtisb

KS

64th-65th
66th-68th

1915-1924

Wesley L. Jones

WA

68th-70th

1924-1929

Simeon D. Fess

OH

71st-72nd

1929-1933

Felix Hebert

RI

73rd

1933-1935

N/Ac

 

74th-77th

1936-1943

Kenneth S. Wherryb

NE

78th-79th
80th

1944-1949

Leverett Saltonstall

MA

81st-82nd
83rd
84th

1949-1957

Everett M. Dirksenb

IL

85th

1957-1959

Thomas H. Kuchel

CA

86th-90th

1959-1969

Hugh D. Scottb

PA

91st

1969

Robert P. Griffin

MI

91st-94th

1969-1977

Ted Stevens

AK

95th-96th
97th-98th

1977-1985

Alan K. Simpson

WY

99th
100th-103rd

1985-1995

Trent Lottb

MS

104th

1995-June 12, 1996d

Don Nickles

OK

104th-106th
107th

June 12, 1996-2003e

Mitch McConnellb

KY

108th-109th

2003-2007

Trent Lott

MS

110th

2007-Dec. 6, 2007f

Jon L. Kyl

AZ

110th-112th

Dec. 6, 2007f-2013

John Cornyn

TX

113th
114th-

2013-

Sources: See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and full citation of all sources. The principal source for this table is Byrd's Historical Statistics, p. 509, with additional details provided by Oleszek, Majority and Minority Whips of the Senate.

Notes: Bolded entries indicate Congresses in which the Republican whip was also majority whip for at least half of the Congress. For example, while the Republicans began the 107th Congress with a controlling majority, party control switched to the Democrats in June of the first session; the 107th Congress is treated as being under Democratic Party control in these tables, where applicable.

a. Wadsworth was the first Republican whip but served only one week before Senator Curtis was named his successor. Some sources describe the selections as appointments, but clearly the party eventually elected individuals to the post. The conference rules for such selection were formally codified only in 1944, but the election practice seems to have been occurring prior to this. See Oleszek, Majority and Minority Whips of the Senate, p. 5.

b. Indicates individuals who later advanced to floor leader.

c. Between 1936 and 1943, the Republican whip post was filled by informal, irregular appointment by the Republican leader.

d. Elected majority leader, June 12, 1996.

e. Elected to replace Senator Trent Lott as whip, June 12, 1996.

f. Senator Jon L. Kyl was elected to the position on December 6, 2007, replacing Senator Trent Lott, who resigned from the Senate soon thereafter (on December 18, 2007).

Source Notes and Bibliography

This report relies heavily on primary congressional sources and authoritative documents such as the privately printed Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774 to 1996, and a similar online adaptation, the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to the Present. In addition, over the years, individual Members of Congress, legislative aides, and scholars have gained limited access to party conference journals. Reliable leadership lists have been compiled from these sources. Where these have been published, they have been used as a source in this report. This report also relies on secondary sources developed by scholars. The Congressional Research Service made no attempt to gain access to caucus or conference minutes in collecting data for this report.

Inevitably, conflicting interpretations occur in these data, even among sources generally accepted as reliable. For example, there are disparities on the dates of elections and tenure of Senate Presidents pro tempore among Byrd's history, the 1911 Senate document, and Gamm and Smith's research. The report attempts to footnote these divergences where they occur.

Unless otherwise noted, the following sources were used to compile the tables in this report:

Berdahl, Clarence. "Some Notes on Party Membership in Congress." American Political Science Review, vol. 43 (April 1949), pp. 309-332; (June 1949), pp. 492-508; and (August 1949), pp. 721-734.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1996. Washington: CQ Staff Directories, Inc., 1997.

Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774 to the Present. Available at http://bioguide.congress.gov/biosearch/biosearch.asp.

Byrd, Robert C. The Senate, 1789-1989. 4 vols., 100th Congress, 1st session. S. Doc. 100-20. Washington: GPO, 1988-1993.

Cannon, Clarence. "Party History." Remarks in the appendix, Congressional Record, vol. 89 (January 22, 1941), pp. A383-A384.

Congressional Directory. Washington: GPO, various years.

Congressional Globe. Washington, 1833-1873.

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Appendix. Political Party Abbreviations

Adams

Adams

Adams-Clay F

Adams-Clay Federalist

Adams-Clay R

Adams-Clay Republican

AJ

Anti-Jackson

Am

American (Know-Nothing)

Anti-Admin

Anti-Administration

C

Conservative

CRR

Crawford Republican

D

Democrat

F

Federalist

FL

Farmer-Labor

FS

Free Soil

I

Independent

ID

Independent Democrat

IR

Independent Republican

J

Jacksonian

JR

Jacksonian Republican

L

Liberty

LR

Liberal Republican

N

Nullifier

N/A

Party Unknown or No Party Affiliation

NR

National Republican

OP

Opposition

PO

Populist

PR

Progressive

Pro-Admin

Pro-Administration

R

Republican

R(DR)a

Jeffersonian, Jeffersonian Republican, or Democratic Republican

RA

Readjuster

S

Silver

SR

Silver Republican

U

Unionist

UU

Unconditional Unionist

W

Whig

Source: This table is derived from Byrd, Historical Statistics, p. xvi.

a. While the Biographical Directory of the American Congress, 1774-1996 identifies the party affiliation of certain Representatives in early Congresses as Republicans, the designation "Democratic Republican" is more familiar to readers. This designation, R(DR), should not be taken to refer to the contemporary Republican Party, which did not emerge until the 1850s.

Author Contact Information

[author name scrubbed], Specialist on Congress and the Legislative Process ([email address scrubbed], [phone number scrubbed])

Acknowledgments

This report was originally written and updated by [author name scrubbed] and Richard C. Sachs, former specialists in American National Government at CRS, and Faye M. Bullock, former technical information specialist at CRS. The listed author has updated and expanded this report and is available to respond to inquiries on the subject.

Footnotes

1.

See the "Source Notes and Bibliography" section at the end of this report for a description and citation of the multiple sources used in identifying leaders in the House of Representatives.

2.

Woodrow Wilson, Congressional Government (Boston: Houghton-Mifflin, 1885), p. 223.

3.

U.S. Congress, Senate, Biographical Directory of the United States Congress 1774-1989: the Continental Congress, September 5, 1774, to October 21, 1788, and The Congress of the United States, from the First through the One Hundredth Congresses, March 4, 1789, to January 3, 1989, inclusive, bicentennial edition, S.Doc. 100-34, 100th Cong., 2nd sess. (Washington: GPO, 1989), p. 3.

4.

Biographical Directory of the American Congress 1774-1996 (Washington: CQ Staff Directories, Inc., 1997), p. xi. This commercially published edition of the Biographical Directory is a continuation of earlier editions that were published under public auspices. An online, updated, version is also available at http://bioguide.congress.gov/biosearch/biosearch.asp.

5.

Robert C. Byrd, The Senate, 1789-1989, 4 vols., S. Doc. 100-20, 100th Cong., 1st sess. (Washington: GPO, 1988-1993), vol. 4, Historical Statistics, 1789-1992. Hereinafter cited as Byrd's Historical Statistics. See also Gerald Gamm and Steven S. Smith, "Last Among Equals: The Senate's Presiding Officer," paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, MA, September 3-6, 1998.

6.

Electing the longest-serving majority party Senator has generally been the practice since 1890, with some exceptions. The only exception since 1945 has been the election of Senator Arthur Vandenberg in 1947.

7.

U.S. Congress, Senate Journal, 50th Cong., 2nd sess., p. 165. See also "President Pro Tempore of the Senate," Congressional Record, vol. 21 (March 12, 1890), pp. 2144-2150.

8.

1 Stat. 240.

9.

24 Stat 1; 61 Stat. 380.