The floor leaders and whips of each party are elected by a majority vote of all the senators of their party assembled in a conference or, as it sometimes is called, a caucus. The practice has been to choose the leader for a two-year term at the beginning of each Congress. The majority and minority leaders are the elected spokespersons on the Senate floor for their respective political parties.
The positions of the majority and the minority leader, as we know them today, are of recent development in the history of the Senate, although individual Senators since 1789 assumed leading roles in determining the Senate schedule.
Essays on Floor Leadership
Essays on Majority and Minority Leaders
Essays on Party Conferences and Caucuses
Members of each major party convene in private meetings known as party conferences (or party caucuses) to elect floor leaders, make committee assignments, and set legislative agendas.
The Leader's Lecture Series provides outstanding former Senate leaders and other distinguished Americans the chance to share their insights about the Senate's recent history and long-term practices.
The Speaker of the House is not only the presiding officer of the House, but also serves as leader of the majority party conference. Next in the chain of command of the majority party are the majority leader and the majority whip. The minority leadership in the House consists of the House minority leader and the minority whip.