Senate Leadership Structure: Overview of Party Organization
Senate Leadership Structure:
Overview of Party Organization
Specialist on the Congress
Government and Finance Division
Each Congress Senators meet to organize the chamber and select their party
leaders. In addition to the majority and minority leaders and party whips are numerous
entities created by the party to assist with the work of the party.
Democratic Conference: The conference is the caucus of all Democratic Senators and
serves as the central coordinating body. It operates through the Democratic leader’s office
and is responsible for communicating the party’s message. The Democratic leader serves
as chair of the conference, which is also led by a vice-chair and a secretary.
Democratic Policy Committee: The policy committee is responsible for the formulation
of overall legislative policy. It provides background and analysis of pending legislation,
and organizes briefings and strategy meetings for Democratic Members and staff. The
policy committee is led by a chair, appointed by the Democratic leader and includes
regional chairs and members.
Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee: Often referred to as the steering
committee, this group maintains liaison between the Democratic leadership and
Democratic elected officials around the country. It also is responsible for making
committee assignment recommendations. It is led by a chair, appointed by the
Democratic leader, who is assisted by an executive committee.
Democratic Committee on Committee Outreach: This group provides a voice in the
Democratic leadership for committee chairs. An appointed chair and vice-chair coordinate
the committee work.
Democratic Committee on Rural Outreach: This group guides rural outreach and tries
to find new ways to reach rural, suburban, and ex-urban communities. It is led by an
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee: This panel is the fund-raising arm of
the Senate Democrats that provides financial and research assistance to Democratic
Senators seeking reelection and to non-incumbent Democratic Senate nominees. It is led
by a chair appointed by the Democratic leader, vice-chair, treasurer, and a board of
Republican Conference: The Republican Conference is the organizational vehicle for
Republican Members and their staff. It hosts periodic meetings of Senate Republicans
and is the primary vehicle for communicating the party’s message. The conference is led
by an elected chair and vice-chair.
Republican Policy Committee: The policy committee assists Senate leaders and
committee chairs in designing, developing, and executing policy ideas. The policy
committee hosts a weekly lunch meeting of Republican Senators and provides summaries
of major bills and amendments, prepares analyses of rollcall votes, and distributes issue
papers. It is led by an elected chair, and comprises members of the party leadership, the
chairs of selected committees, and members designated by the Republican leader to serve
on an executive committee.
Republican Steering Committee: The steering committee is responsible for making
committee assignment recommendations. It is led by a chair appointed by the Republican
leader and an executive committee.
Republican Senatorial Committee: The campaign committee oversees the political and
fund-raising efforts of Senate Republicans. It is led by a chair appointed by the
Republican leader and an executive committee.