House Standing Committee Chairs and Ranking Minority Members: Rules Governing Selection Procedures

Prepared for Members and Committees of Congress

House rules, Republican Conference rules, and Democratic Caucus rules each detail aspects of
the procedures followed in selecting standing committee chairs and ranking minority members.
This report summarizes those procedures and lists membership on each party’s steering
committee. The report will be updated if rules or procedures change.

House Rule X, clause 5(c)(2), adopted in 1995 and effective immediately, limited committee (and
subcommittee) chairs to three-terms of consecutive service. Service for less than a full session in
a Congress is disregarded. A rules change adopted on January 7, 2003, pursuant to H.Res. 5,
exempted the Intelligence Committee chair from the limit. A rules change adopted on January 4,

2005, pursuant to H.Res. 5, exempted the Rules Committee chair from the limit.

Republican Conference rules delineate procedures for the selection of standing committee chairs
and ranking minority members. The Speaker, with the Republicans in the majority, has the
authority to nominate the chairs of the House Administration Committee and Rules Committee. In
the minority, this is performed by the minority leader. He names the ranking minority members
on these committees. The Speaker’s or minority leader’s nominations for these two positions are
submitted directly to the full Republican Conference for ratification. If the conference rejects the
leader’s nominee, the Speaker or minority leader has the authority to submit another name to the
All other standing committee chairs or ranking minority members are nominated by the
Republican Steering Committee and ratified by the full Republican Conference. Pursuant to
conference rules, the Member nominated to be chair or ranking minority member does not need to th
be the Member with the longest continuous service on the committee. In the 111 Congress, the
Steering Committee “interviewed” prospective candidates for ranking slots. Some of the new
ranking members were the most senior members of the committee, others were not.
The Steering Committee is composed of party leaders, selected committee leaders, class leaders,
and regional representatives. The Steering Committee is reconstituted each Congress. Regions are
restructured to reflect as closely as possible an equal number of Republican Members from each
region. Each region elects its Steering Committee member. If Steering Committee members are
elected from states that have four or more Republican members, a “small state” group is triggered
to also elect a member to the Steering Committee; the small state group is composed of states that
have three or fewer Republican members. Table 1 depicts the membership of the Republican th
Steering Committee for the 111 Congress.
Table 1. Republican Steering Committee
Designated Representative Member Serving in 111th Congress Comments
Republican Leader John Boehner Has 5 votes in Steering Committee
Minority Whip Eric Cantor Has 2 votes
Chief Deputy Whip Kevin McCarthy
Republican Conference Chair Mike Pence
Republican Conference Vice Chair Cathy McMorris-Rogers
Republican Conference Secretary John Carter
Republican Policy Chair Thad McCotter

th Comments
Designated Representative Member Serving in 111Congress
NRCC Chair,110th Congress Tom Cole
NRCC Chair, 111th Congress Pete Sessions
Appropriations Committee ranking Jerry Lewis
Energy and Commerce Committee Joe Barton
ranking member
Financial Services Committee ranking Doc Hastings
Rules Committee ranking member David Dreier
Ways and Means Committee ranking Dave Camp
California Representative Ken Calvert
Texas Representative Lamar Smith
Florida Representative Jeff Miller
Region I Representative Doc Hastings Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho,
Montana, Nevada, Utah, Arizona,
New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado
Region II Representative Lee Terry Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska,
Wisconsin, Minnesota
Region III Representative John Shimkus Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas
Region IV Representative Mike Rogers Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee
Region V Representative John McHugh Deleware, New York, New Jersey,
Region VI Representative Steve LaTourette Maryland, Ohio, Virginia
Region VII Representative Hal Rogers Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana,
Mississippi, West Virginia
Region VIII Representative John Linder Georgia, North Carolina, South

Small State Representative Mike Simpson Alaska, Arkansas,Colorado,
Delaware, Idaho, Maryland,
Mississippi, Montana, Nevada,
Oregon, Utah, West Virginia,
110th Class Representative Adrian Smith
111th Class Representative Gregg Harper

Democratic Caucus rules address selecting committee chairs and ranking minority members. The
Democratic leader nominates a chair/ranking member for the Committees on Rules and House
Administration, who must be approved by the entire Democratic Caucus. The Budget Committee
chair/ranking member is selected from among members choosing to run for the position. Other

chair/ranking member nominations are made by the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee
and voted on by the entire Democratic Caucus. In making selections, the Steering Committee
considers, pursuant to caucus rules, “merit, length of service on the committee and degree of
commitment to the Democratic agenda of the nominee, and the diversity of the Caucus.” The
Steering Committee is reconstituted each Congress, and regions can be restructured to reflect
equal Democratic representation among regions. The number of appointments made by the party
leader can also change. Table 2 depicts the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee as h
constituted at the beginning of the 111 Congress.
Table 2. Democratic Steering Committee
Designated Representative Member Serving in the 111Congress Comments
Steering Committee Chair Nancy Pelosi
Steering Committee Co-Chair Rosa DeLauro
Policy Committee Co-Chair George Miller
Vice-Chair Marion Berry
Vice-Chair Hilda Solis
Whip James Clyburn
Democratic Caucus Chair John Larson
Democratic Caucus Vice-Chair Xavier Becerra
DCCC Chair Chris Van Hollen
Senior Chief Deputy Whip John Lewis
Chief Deputy Whip Joe Crowley
Chief Deputy Whip Diana DeGette
Chief Deputy Whip G.K. Butterfield
Chief Deputy Whip Ed Pastor
Chief Deputy Whip John Tanner
Chief Deputy Whip Maxine Waters
Chief Deputy Whip Debbie Wasserman Schultz
Chief Deputy Whip Jan Schakowsky
Region I Linda Sherman Southern California: 21-53
Region II Jerry McNerney Northern California: 1-20; Hawaii,
American Samoa, Guam, Alaska,
Marianas Islands
Region III Tammy Baldwin Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin,
Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota,
Region IV Jan Schakowsky Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri,
Region V Rick Larsen Colorado, Utah, Montana, Wyoming,
North Dakota, Oregon, Washington,
Nevada, Idaho
Region VI Eddie Bernice Johnson Texas, Arizona, New Mexico

h Comments
Designated Representative Member Serving in the 111Congress
Region VII Bob Etheridge Louisiana, Tennessee, Arkansas,
North Carolina, South Carolina
Region VIII Ron Klein Georgia, Florida, Alabama,
Mississippi, Virgin Islands, Puerto
Region IX James Moran Maryland, New Jersey, West Virginia,
Virginia, D.C., Delaware
Region X Robert Brady Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky
Region XI Jerrold Nadler New York
Region XII John Tierney Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, New Hampshire,
Appropriations Committee Chair David Obey
Budget Committee Chair John Spratt
Energy and Commerce Committee Henry Waxman
Financial Services Committee Chair Barney Frank
Rules Committee Chair Louis Slaughter
Ways and Means Committee Chair Charles Rangel
Organization Study and Review Mike Capuano
(OSR) Chair
Freshman Representative Jared Polis
Members appointed by Democratic Dennis Cardoza
Leader Kathy Castor
Jerry Costello
Artur Davis
Lloyd Doggett
Debbie Halvorson
Rush Holt
Marcy Kaptur
Zoe Lofgren
Doris Matsui
Kendrick Meek
Collin Peterson
Tim Ryan
Nydia Velazquez

Judy Schneider
Specialist on the Congress, 7-8664