Party leaders of the United States Senate

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The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders (also called Senate Floor Leaders) are two United States Senators who are elected by the party conferences that hold the majority and the minority respectively. These leaders serve as the chief Senate spokesmen for their parties and manage and schedule the legislative and executive business of the Senate. By custom, the Presiding Officer gives the Majority Leader priority in obtaining recognition to speak on the floor of the Senate. The Majority Leader position most resembles that of a prime minister, but only in legislative capacities.

The Majority leader customarily serves as the chief representative and "face" of his or her party in Senate, and sometimes even in all of Congress if the House of Representatives and thus office of Speaker of the House is controlled by the opposition party.

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

Contents

[edit] Current floor leaders

The current floor leaders are Republican Bill Frist of Tennessee (Majority) and Democrat Harry Reid of Nevada (Minority). The Floor leaders of the 110th Congress will be Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) (Majority) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) (Minority).

[edit] History

The position is not designated in the U.S. Constitution. It evolved into existence over time. It wasn't until the 1920s when the two parties formally began to call their leaders Majority and Minority Leader. The Democrats began this practice starting in 1920 while they were in the minority. In 1925 the majority (of the time) Republicans also adopted this language when Charles Curtis became the first Majority Leader.

The Constitution designates the Vice President of the United States as President of the Senate. The Constitution also calls for a President Pro Tempore to serve as the leader of the body when the President of the Senate (the Vice President) is absent. All of these roles still exist today, however, for practical purposes it is now the Majority Leader who runs the Senate.

In recent years it has become more common for the leader of the majority party to be referred to as the "Majority Leader" and the leader of the minority party to be referred to as the "Leader" of his party in order to reduce the (correct) implication that "Minority" connotes of lesser power. Senator Bob Dole, in particular, preferred to be referred to as "Senate Republican Leader" while serving as Minority Leader.

In January 2003 Republican Bill Frist was elected Senate Majority Leader. He succeeded Trent Lott, who resigned his leadership position in December 2002 due to controversial remarks he made claiming the United States would be a better place if Strom Thurmond, who campaigned on a platform of racial segregation, were elected President.

[edit] 2006 elections and the 110th Congress

In the 2006 midterm elections, Democrats regained majority control of the Senate. Therefore, in the 110th Congress, beginning on January 32007, there will be new party leaders.

[edit] Republicans

Frist announced his retirement before the 2006 midterm elections, leaving the position of Republican Leader open. When the Republicans lose majority control of the Senate in 2007, the Republican Minority Leader will be Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

[edit] Democrats

The current Democratic Minority Leader Harry Reid will become Majority Leader in the 110th Congress. Reid's predecessor was Tom Daschle, who lost his Senate seat in the 2004 elections — making him the first floor leader to lose reelection in more than half a century.

[edit] List of Senate floor leaders

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

(Names in Bold indicate Majority Leaders)

Congress Dates Democratic Leader State Republican Leader State
66th 1920-1921 Oscar W. Underwood Alabama Henry Cabot Lodge (unofficial) Massachusetts
67th 1921-1923
68th 1923-November 9, 1924 Joseph T. Robinson Arkansas
March 5, 1925-1925 Charles Curtis Kansas
69th 1925-1927
70th 1927-1929
71st 1929-1931 James E. Watson Indiana
72nd 1931-1933
73rd 1933-1935 Joseph T. Robinson Arkansas Charles L. McNary Oregon
74th 1935-1937
75th 1937-July 14, 1937
July 22, 1937-1939 Alben W. Barkley Kentucky
76th 1939
1940 Warren Austin (acting) Vermont
77th 1941-1943 Charles L. McNary Oregon
78th 1943-1945 Wallace H. White Jr. (acting) Maine
79th 1945-1947 Wallace H. White Jr. Maine
80th 1947-1949 Alben W. Barkley Kentucky Wallace H. White Jr. Maine
81st 1949-1951 Scott W. Lucas Illinois Kenneth S. Wherry Nebraska
82nd 1951 Ernest W. McFarland Arizona
January 8, 1952-1953 Styles Bridges New Hampshire
83rd 1953-August 4, 1953 Lyndon Johnson Texas Robert A. Taft Ohio
August 4, 1953-1955 William F. Knowland California
84th 1955-1957 Lyndon Johnson Texas William F. Knowland California
85th 1957-1959
86th 1959-1961 Everett M. Dirksen Illinois
87th 1961-1963 Mike Mansfield Montana
88th 1963-1965
89th 1965-1967
90th 1967-1969
91st 1969-September 7, 1969
September 24 1969-1971 Hugh Scott Pennsylvania
92nd 1971-1973
93rd 1973-1975
94th 1975-1977
95th 1977-1979 Robert Byrd West Virginia Howard H. Baker Jr. Tennessee
96th 1979-1981
97th 1981-1983 Robert Byrd West Virginia Howard H. Baker Jr. Tennessee
98th 1983-1985
99th 1985-1987 Bob Dole Kansas
100th 1987-1989 Robert Byrd West Virginia Bob Dole Kansas
101st 1989-1991 George Mitchell Maine
102nd 1991-1993
103rd 1993-1995
104th December 2, 1994-June 12, 1996 Tom Daschle South Dakota Bob Dole Kansas
June 12, 1996-1997 Trent Lott Mississippi
105th 1997-1999
106th 1999-2001
107th January 3, 2001-January 20, 2001 Tom Daschle South Dakota Trent Lott Mississippi
January 20, 2001-June 6, 2001 Tom Daschle South Dakota Trent Lott Mississippi
June 6, 2001-November 25 2002 Tom Daschle South Dakota Trent Lott Mississippi
November 25 2002December 23, 2002 Tom Daschle<ref>Remained in control despite a Republican majority. There was no reorganization as Senate was out of session. Party Division in the Senate, 1789-Present, via Senate.gov</ref>
December 23, 2002-January 3 2003 Bill Frist Tennessee
108th 2003-2005 Tom Daschle South Dakota Bill Frist Tennessee
109th 2005-present Harry Reid Nevada
110th (presumed) 2007-present Harry Reid Nevada Mitch McConnell Kentucky

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[edit] See also

[edit] External link

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Party leaders of the United States Senate

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