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Majority Leader of the
United States House of Representatives
Democratic Leader
Incumbent
Steny Hoyer

since January 3, 2007
Style Representative
Inaugural holder Oscar W. Underwood
Formation 1911
Minority Leader of the
United States House of Representatives
Republican Leader
Incumbent
John Boehner

since January 3, 2007
Style Representative
Inaugural holder James Mann
Formation 1911
United States

This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
the United States



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Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives are elected by their respective parties in a closed-door caucus.

The Majority Leader of the United States House of Representatives acts as the leader of the party that has a majority of the seats in the house (currently at least 218 of the 435 seats). They work with the Speaker of the House and the Majority Whip to coordinate ideas and maintain support for legislation.

The role of the majority leader has been defined by history and tradition. This officer is charged with scheduling legislation for floor consideration; planning the daily, weekly, and annual legislative agendas; consulting with Members to gauge party sentiment; and, in general, working to advance the goals of the majority party.

The office of Majority Leader was created in 1899 by Speaker David B. Henderson for Sereno Payne. Henderson saw a need for a party leader on the House floor separate from the Speaker, as the role of Speaker had become more nationally prominent and the size of the House had grown from 105 at the beginning of the century to 356. In addition to distributing responsibility for running the House, the existence of the Majority Leader allows the Speaker to criticize their own party if they consider it politically necessary.

Before 1899, the majority party floor leader had traditionally been the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, the most powerful committee in the House, as it generates the Bills of Revenue specified in the Constitution as the House's unique power.[1]

The Minority Leader of the United States House of Representatives serves as floor leader of the opposition party, and is the minority counterpart to the Majority Leader. Generally, the minority leader is on the ballot for Speaker of the House during the convening of the Congress. They usually are the party's top choice for Speaker if party control flips after an election. The Minority Leader usually meets with the Majority Leader and the Speaker to discuss agreements on controversial issues.

The current House majority leader is Democrat Steny Hoyer, while the current House minority leader is Republican John Boehner.

List of party leaders

(Names in Bold indicate The Majority Leaders, names in Italics indicate Speakers of the House for context.)

Congress(es) Dates Democratic leader Speaker Republican leader
56th–57th 1899–1903 James Richardson (TN 5) David B. Henderson Sereno E. Payne (NY 28)
58th–60th 1903–1908 John Sharp Williams (MS 8) Joseph Gurney Cannon (NY 31)
60th–61st 1908–1911 Champ Clark (MO 9)
62nd–63rd 1911–1915 Oscar W. Underwood (AL 9) Champ Clark James Mann (IL 2)
64th–65th 1915–1919 Claude Kitchin (NC 2)
66th 1919–1921 Champ Clark (MO 9) Frederick Gillett Frank W. Mondell (WY AL)
67th 1921–1923 Claude Kitchin (NC 2)
68th 1923–1925 Finis Garrett (TN 9) Nicholas Longworth (OH 1)
69th–70th 1925–1929 Nicholas Longworth John Q. Tilson (CT 3)
71st 1929–1931 John Nance Garner (TX 15)
72nd 1931–1933 Henry T. Rainey (IL 20) John Nance Garner Bertrand Snell (NY 31)
73rd 1933–1935 Joseph Byrns (TN 5) Henry T. Rainey
74th 1935–1937 William B. Bankhead (AL 6) Joseph Byrns
75th 1937–1939 Sam Rayburn (TX 4) William Bankhead
76th 1939–1941 Joseph Martin (MA 14)
77th–79th 1941–1947 John William McCormack (MA 12) Sam Rayburn
80th 1947–1949 Sam Rayburn (TX 4) Joseph Martin Charles A. Halleck (IN 2)
81st–82nd 1949–1953 John William McCormack (MA 12) Sam Rayburn Joseph Martin (MA 14)
83rd 1953–1955 Sam Rayburn (TX 4) Joseph Martin Charles A. Halleck (IN 2)
84th–85th 1955–1959 John William McCormack (MA 12) Sam Rayburn Joseph Martin (MA 14)
86th 1959–1961 Charles A. Halleck (IN 2)
87th–88th 1961–1965 Carl Albert (OK 3) John William McCormack
89th–91st 1965–1971 Gerald Ford (MI 5)
92nd 1971–1973 Hale Boggs (LA 2) Carl Albert
93rd–94th 1973–1977 Tip O'Neill (MA 8) John Rhodes (AZ 1)
95th–96th 1977–1981 Jim Wright (TX 12) Tip O'Neill
97th–99th 1981–1987 Robert Michel (IL 18)
100th 1987–1989 Tom Foley (WA 5) Jim Wright
101st–103rd 1989–1995 Dick Gephardt (MO 3) Tom Foley
104th–105th 1995–1999 Dick Gephardt Newt Gingrich Dick Armey (TX 26)
106th–107th 1999–2003 Dennis Hastert
108th–109th 2003–2005 Nancy Pelosi (CA 8) Tom DeLay (TX 22)
109th 2005–2006 Roy Blunt (MO 7) (acting)
2006–2007 John Boehner (OH 8)
110th–111th 2007–2009 Steny Hoyer (MD 5) Nancy Pelosi John Boehner (OH 8)
Congress(es) Dates Democratic leader Speaker Republican leader

Notes

  1. ^ Richard E. Berg-Andersson, "A Brief History of Congressional Leadership", online posting, The Green Papers (self-published website & blog), last updated June 7, 2001. Accessed January 5, 2006.

External links

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