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About Parties and Leadership | Policy Committee Chairs

The Senate created Democratic and Republican Policy Committees in 1947. Each committee is responsible for formulating legislative policy goals for the party and, in conjunction with legislative committee chairs and party leaders, scheduling floor action on bills during a session. During the 20th century, the Democratic Policy Committee was chaired by the party’s floor leader, who also appointed the members of the committee. A co-chair position was added in 1989. In 2000 the Democratic Conference made the chair of the policy committee an elected post. The Democratic leader no longer served as co-chair but continued to appoint the remaining members of the committee. The Republican Conference also elects the chair of its policy committee. In addition to the chair, the Republican committee is composed of members of leadership, serving as ex-officio members, with the remaining members appointed by the party leader with approval of the party conference.

Republican Policy Committee Chairpersons
TaftRobert A. Taft (R-OH) 1947-1952 1947–1952
KnowlandWilliam F. Knowland (R-CA) 1953_1953 1953
FergusonHomer S. Ferguson (R-MI) 1953_1955 1953–1955
BridgesH. Styles Bridges (R-NH) 1955_1961 1955–1961
HickenlooperBourke B. Hickenlooper (R-IA) 1962_1969 1962–1969
AllottGordon L. Allott (R-CO) 1969_1973 1969–1973
TowerJohn G. Tower (R-TX) 1973_1985 1973–1985
ArmstrongWilliam L. Armstrong (R-CO) 1985_1991 1985–1991
NicklesDonald L. Nickles (R-OK) 1991_1997 1991–1997
CraigLarry E. Craig (R-ID) 1997_2003 1997–2003
KylJon L. Kyl (R-AZ) 2003_2007 2003–2007
HutchisonKay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) 2007_2009 2007–2009
EnsignJohn E. Ensign (R-NV) 2009_2009 2009
ThuneJohn Thune (R-SD) 2009_2013 2009–2013
BarrassoJohn Barrasso (R-WY) 2013_2019 2013–2019
BluntRoy Blunt (R-MO) 2019_2022 2019–2023
ErnstJoni Ernst (R-IA) 2023_ 2023–present

Democratic Policy Committee Chairpersons
BarkleyAlben W. Barkley (D-KY) 1947–1949
LucasScott W. Lucas (D-IL) 1949–1951
McFarlandErnest W. McFarland (D-AZ) 1951–1953
JohnsonLyndon B. Johnson (D-TX) 1953–1961
MansfieldMichael J. Mansfield (D-MT) 1961–1977
ByrdRobert C. Byrd (D-WV) 1977–1989
MitchellGeorge J. Mitchell (D-ME)
DaschleThomas A. Daschle (D-SD)
DaschleThomas A. Daschle (D-SD)
ReidHarry Reid (D-NV)
DorganByron L. Dorgan (D-ND) 1999–2011
SchumerCharles E. Schumer (D-NY) 2011–2017
StabenowDebbie Stabenow (D-MI) 2017–present