House Leadership Structure: Overview of Party Organization
CRS Report for Congress
House Leadership Structure: Overview of
Specialist on the Congress
Government and Finance Division
At the beginning of each Congress, Members meet to organize and select their
leaders. Democrats call their party organization the Democratic Caucus; Republicans
call their party organization the Republican Conference. Within the caucus and
conference are numerous entities that assist party leaders in determining the work and
role of the Members of that party. This report serves as a companion piece to CRS
Report RS20499, House Leadership: Whip Organization, and CRS Report RS20881,
Party Leaders in the House.
Democratic Caucus: The Democratic Caucus is the organizational vehicle for all
Democratic Members and staff. It hosts periodic meetings and is the primary vehicle for
communicating the party’s message. A chair and vice-chair are elected by the members.
No member can serve as chair or vice-chair for more than two terms.
Democratic Policy and Steering Committee: The Steering Committee is responsible for
making committee assignments and policy recommendations. It is chaired by the
Democratic leader, who is assisted by two co-chairs and three vice-chairs who are
appointed by the Democratic leader. Committee members also include the caucus chair
and vice-chair, assistant to the minority leader, the whip, the deputy whip, senior chief
deputy whip, seven chief deputy whips, the chair of the congressional campaign
committee, 12 members elected from 12 regions, 15 members appointed by the
Democratic leader, the chair of the Democratic Caucus’s Committee on Organization,
Study, and Review (OSR), and the ranking members of the Appropriations, Budget,
Energy and Commerce, Rules, and Ways and Means Committees.
Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC): The campaign committee
is led by a chair appointed by the Democratic leader. The committee serves as the
principal fund-raising arm of the House Democrats.
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
Republican Conference: The Republican Conference is the organizational vehicle for
all Republican Members and staff. The conference hosts periodic meetings and is the
primary vehicle for communicating the party’s message. The conference is led by a chair,
vice-chair, and secretary, who are elected by the members.
Republican Steering Committee: The Steering Committee is responsible for making
committee assignments. It is chaired by the Speaker, who has five votes on the panel.
The majority leader has two votes. All other members have one vote. The other
committee members comprise the majority whip, chief deputy whip, conference chair,
policy committee chair, conference vice-chair and secretary, the chair of the campaign
committee, and the chairs of the Appropriations, Energy and Commerce, Rules, and Ways
and Means Committees. Representatives are also elected from 12 geographic regions, anthth
additional region made up of small states, and the 107 and 108 classes.
Republican Policy Committee: The policy committee is the Republican’s principal
forum for discussion of specific legislative initiatives, the enunciation of party priorities,
and the resolution of House committees’ jurisdictional policy disputes. A chairman,
elected by the Republican Conference, is part of a 47 member panel. The full membership
includes, in addition to the chair, the Speaker, majority leader, majority whip, conference
chair, conference vice-chair, conference secretary, campaign committee chair, leadership
chairman, two representatives from the 107th class and one from the 108th class elected by
their class and designated as part of conference leadership, five committee chairs
(Appropriations, Budget, Energy and Commerce, Rules, and Ways and Means), 12
regional and state representatives elected from their regions or states, three class
representatives elected from their class, and a maximum of 17 members appointed by the
National Republican Congressional Committee: The campaign committee, led by an
elected chair, one executive committee leader, six vice chairs, and a 22 member executive
committee, serves as the fund-raising arm of the House Republicans.