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How are the Speaker of the House and the Senate President chosen?

Posted on 04/19/2011 5:40:07 PM PDT by cradle of freedom

Could someone please tell me the details on how the Speaker of the House and Senate President are chosen? And how are the committee members and committee chairs chosen?

The health care votes last year gave us a peak at the hardball politics that go on behind the scenes. It reminds me very much of how our Massachusetts legislature works. As you know, Massachusetts politics is dominated by Democrats, there are only a few Republicans. The Democrats are controlled by the House Speaker and the Senate President. It is all top down. There is really no representation. The only people who get representation are the ones who live in the districts of the Speaker and Senate President. This is not a truly representative form of government. All of the state pays taxes but the only people who get representation are those who have the most powerful people in legislature, the other legislators are just rubber stamps. They line up with their begging bowls offering their votes in exchange for their bit of the state aid for their local district.

I believe this is also going on in Washington, especially in the Democrat Party. So, I would like to know whether the Speaker and Senate Presidents are elected by secret ballot, which would be free of political pressure. Or are they elected in an open way which would subject them to all sorts of bribes and arm twisting.


TOPICS: Government; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: congress; democrats; politics

1 posted on 04/19/2011 5:40:13 PM PDT by cradle of freedom
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To: cradle of freedom

I thought the President of the Senate was the VP.


2 posted on 04/19/2011 5:42:09 PM PDT by West Texas Chuck (Why yes, I do speak Spanglish - "Hasta la later on, amigo. Pardon, would you have any salsa verde?")
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To: cradle of freedom
You mean Senate Majority Leader. The President of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States.

House Speaker, minority leader and Senate majority leader and minority leader are chosen by their respective parties members in the chamber.

3 posted on 04/19/2011 5:47:40 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: cradle of freedom

The Speaker is elected by the House. (See Article 1 Section 2 of the Constitution.) Technically, the House could elect someone who was not a Member of Congress as the speaker, but has never done so.

The Vice President is the president of the Senate according to the Constitution. The President Pro Tempore is mandated by Article 1 Section 3 and is elected by the Senate. By Senate Tradition, it is typically the longest serving member of the Majority party who is elected to this position.

House Rule X governs the selection of Committee Chairs. They are selected by a vote of the House.


4 posted on 04/19/2011 5:51:01 PM PDT by freedomwarrior998
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To: cradle of freedom

Got Google ???


5 posted on 04/19/2011 5:51:23 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: cradle of freedom

Got Google ???


6 posted on 04/19/2011 5:51:26 PM PDT by truth_seeker
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To: cradle of freedom
Each party in the Senate and House select/elect their speaker. The party with the most votes in the house is the majority party and they select the majority speaker. Minority parties select the minority speaker. The VP can break a tie vote in the House. The Majority Whip (speaker) of the house is the only one that can bring impeachment against the President.
7 posted on 04/19/2011 5:52:08 PM PDT by mountainlion (America land of the free because of the Brave.)
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To: cradle of freedom
... Senate President are chosen ...

The Senate President is chosen by the Electoral College. The Vice President is the President of the Senate.

8 posted on 04/19/2011 5:58:31 PM PDT by VRWCmember (Veritas vos Liberabit)
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To: mountainlion

“The Majority Whip (speaker) of the house is the only one that can bring impeachment against the President.”

The majority whip is not the speaker of the house. And any house member can introduce a bill of impeachment.


9 posted on 04/19/2011 5:58:46 PM PDT by cotton1706
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To: mountainlion
The VP can break a tie vote in the House.

I think you mean The VP can break a tie vote in the Senate.

10 posted on 04/19/2011 6:00:43 PM PDT by Pan_Yan (Now showing: Dark Ages II.)
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To: mountainlion

I know that each party selects its leaders, but what I would like to know is the actual process. Whether it is done in a totally free way as by a secret ballot or through an open face-to-face manner. I think this is the key to who has the power.

I am only getting a whiff of this but I think I smell a skunk. If legislators are not allowed to vote in secret, they they will be strong-armed by the most powerfull members of the legislature. This could keep a small clique of people in control of the Democrats and Republicans and the financial interests that support that small clique can control the whole legislative branch. I think this is key.


11 posted on 04/19/2011 6:01:50 PM PDT by cradle of freedom (Long live the Republic !)
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To: cotton1706
Anyone can introduce a bill of impeachment but it takes the speaker of the house to implement it. I guess I was listening to sloppy news broadcasters about the whip.
12 posted on 04/19/2011 6:04:18 PM PDT by mountainlion (America land of the free because of the Brave.)
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To: mountainlion

That must be an internal rule. I’ve never heard of it. But the speakership is a powerful position.


13 posted on 04/19/2011 6:08:11 PM PDT by cotton1706
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To: cradle of freedom
Weegie board!¡
14 posted on 04/19/2011 6:10:39 PM PDT by org.whodat
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To: cradle of freedom
How are the Speaker of the House and the Senate President chosen?


15 posted on 04/19/2011 6:13:24 PM PDT by Talisker (When you find a turtle on top of a fence post, you can be damn sure it didn't get there on its own.)
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To: cradle of freedom

There’s the president of the senate (the vice-president of the United States) and the president pro-tempore, who is the official head of the body in the absence of the president (usually the longest serving member of the majority party).


16 posted on 04/19/2011 6:13:24 PM PDT by cotton1706
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To: cradle of freedom

I’m afraid that I’m not getting my point across. It is about who CONTROLS THE POWER in the legislative branch. This is what I am wondering about. If they select their leaders by secret ballot, then the majority will not be so easily controlled by a small elite group. If they have to announce their selection for the leader, then they can be intimidated or bribed by the more powerful members. Think “card check”. Card check is a scheme by the unions to intimidate rank-and-file union members into accepting a union. With card check the workers have to sign a card voting on whether they want or reject a union. This can make workers vulnerable to intimidation by the union thugs. If on the other hand, the workers are allowed to choose whether they want a union by secret ballot, they will feel free to vote their true feelings.


17 posted on 04/19/2011 6:18:26 PM PDT by cradle of freedom (Long live the Republic !)
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To: cotton1706
That must be an internal rule. I’ve never heard of it. But the speakership is a powerful position.

I think the newscaster were saying it was Constitutional.

18 posted on 04/19/2011 6:21:52 PM PDT by mountainlion (America land of the free because of the Brave.)
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To: cotton1706
The speakers and committee heads can keep legislation from getting to the floor. This is why it is so important to understand just how the election process works because this could be the difference between a legislature that truly represents the people and one that is managed and controlled from the top for the benefit of a select few.

Do you think that we really have a congress that truly represents the will of the people?

19 posted on 04/19/2011 6:22:28 PM PDT by cradle of freedom (Long live the Republic !)
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To: mountainlion

Well it’s constitutional because each house can choose its own rules. But there’s nothing in the constitution about the powers of the speaker.


20 posted on 04/19/2011 6:25:04 PM PDT by cotton1706
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To: cradle of freedom

In general, legislatures usually work that way. However, there are rules that allow members to force a vote on a piece of legislation if it’s being held up by committee chairmen or leaders. They’re not all powerful.


21 posted on 04/19/2011 6:26:57 PM PDT by cotton1706
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To: mountainlion
The speaker and majority whip are two different positions, Mr. Tarp Cantor in majority whip his assistant is Mr Tarp Ryan.
22 posted on 04/19/2011 6:31:24 PM PDT by org.whodat
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To: mountainlion
The Majority Whip (speaker) of the house is the only one that can bring impeachment against the President.

Majority Whip and Speaker are two different positions. And any member can introduce an impeachment resolution. Henry Hyde did it against Clinton, while Tom DeLay was Majority Whip.

23 posted on 04/19/2011 6:36:58 PM PDT by buccaneer81 (ECOMCON)
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To: cotton1706

I am disappointed that no one has been able to answer my question. Are the leaders chosen by secret ballot or not? Is there anybody out there who can answer this question?


24 posted on 04/19/2011 6:38:53 PM PDT by cradle of freedom (Long live the Republic !)
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To: Talisker

25 posted on 04/19/2011 6:39:49 PM PDT by American Preservative
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To: cradle of freedom

The real leadership positions are openly campaigned for and supporters are very public. They are not chosen by secret ballot, nor are they ever likely to be.


26 posted on 04/19/2011 6:53:15 PM PDT by jjotto ("Ya could look it up!")
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To: cradle of freedom; big'ol_freeper
Gadzooks! We certainly have a lot of knownothings here tonight!

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speaker_of_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives :

The Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, or Speaker of the House, is the presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives. The office was established in 1789 by Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution, which states in part, "The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker..." The current speaker is John Boehner, a Republican who represents Ohio's 8th congressional district. The Constitution does not require that the Speaker be an elected Member of Congress, but no non-member has ever been elected Speaker.[1]

The Speaker is second in the United States presidential line of succession, after the Vice President and before the President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate.[2] Unlike in some Westminster System parliaments, the Speaker is a leadership position in the majority party and actively works to set that party's legislative agenda, therefore endowing the office with considerable power. The Speaker does not usually personally preside over debates, instead delegating the duty to other members of Congress of the same political party.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/President_pro_tempore_of_the_United_States_Senate :

The President pro tempore (also President pro tem) is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate and the highest-ranking Senator. The United States Constitution states that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate and the highest-ranking official of the Senate even though he or she votes only in the case of a tie. During the Vice President's absence, the President pro tempore is the highest-ranking official in the Senate and may preside over its sessions. The President pro tempore is elected by the Senate and is customarily the most senior Senator in the majority party. Normally, neither the Vice President of the United States nor the President pro tempore presides; instead, the duty is generally delegated to the junior Senators of the majority party to help them learn parliamentary procedure.[4] The President pro tempore is third in the line of succession to the Presidency, after the Vice President of the United States and the Speaker of the House of Representatives.[5]

Following the death of Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) on June 28, 2010, Daniel Inouye, senior Senator from Hawaii, was sworn in as President Pro Tempore.[6] By Senate tradition, the Democrat next in line to become President pro tempore after Inouye would be Patrick Leahy, senior Senator from Vermont, followed by Max Baucus, senior Senator from Montana. The senior members of the minority party are Republicans Dick Lugar, senior Senator from Indiana, and Orrin Hatch, senior Senator from Utah.

The President of the Senate is the Vice-President, so he is elected by a secret ballot of the people through the Electoral College.

The Speaker of the house is elected by an open vote of all the Representatives with it generally being a party line vote.

27 posted on 04/19/2011 7:03:07 PM PDT by Bender2 ("I've got a twisted sense of humor, and everything amuses me." RAH Beyond this Horizon)
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To: cradle of freedom

Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives are elected by their respective parties in a closed-door caucus by secret ballot and are also known as floor leaders. [1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_leaders_of_the_United_States_House_of_Representatives

Handicapping a Durbin-Schumer face-off would be tough, even for members of the Senate. They vote for their leader by secret ballot. Larry Sabato, who heads the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, says the senators often go into the balloting with a majority pledged to support them but lose anyhow. “Politicians are very good at fibbing to people’s faces,” Sabato explains. “The logical thing to do is to tell both candidates for majority leader that you’re for them.”

http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/May-2010/Dick-Durbin-v-Chuck-Schumer-Battle-for-Senate-majority-leader-spot/

However, if it’s done by secret ballot, how did we know that 17 democrats did not vote for Pelosi, including Gabby Giffords??? Something whizzed by that said Andrea Mitchell reported on it?


28 posted on 04/19/2011 7:03:21 PM PDT by RowdyFFC (.)
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To: cradle of freedom
They run for the office, just like they ran for the current office, the one with the most votes in the caucus wins.
29 posted on 04/19/2011 7:22:27 PM PDT by org.whodat
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To: cradle of freedom

Do you seriously need a thread for this when all you need do is Google your questions? Well anyway, the Speaker of the House is elected by the members of the entire House. The party holding the majority at the time has the most votes, so their favorite candidate wins. Like all elections, candidates are self-selected. They throw their metaphoric hat in the ring, and campaign for the position. They win if they can convince a majority of their side (majority party) to vote for them.

The process is the same in the Senate for Majority Leader (and, by the way, other leadership positions).

The president of the Senate is an entirely different matter. It is a constitutional function of the Vice President of the United States. It is largely ceremonial.


30 posted on 04/19/2011 7:24:17 PM PDT by Wolfstar ("If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his friend." Abraham Lincoln)
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To: RowdyFFC
they have a closed vote in the caucus to see who is where, then they have an open vote on the floor. But the matter is decided before the floor vote, the speaker election, when the gavel changes hands, that is the open vote. This year it was boner vs newts friend.
31 posted on 04/19/2011 7:29:44 PM PDT by org.whodat
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To: jjotto

Thank you for answering my question, that is all I wanted to know.


32 posted on 04/19/2011 7:37:51 PM PDT by cradle of freedom (Long live the Republic !)
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To: org.whodat

OK. Thanks.


33 posted on 04/19/2011 7:44:53 PM PDT by RowdyFFC (.)
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To: Bender2

What, no mention of hanging chads?


34 posted on 04/20/2011 4:05:03 AM PDT by big'ol_freeper ("[T]here is nothing so aggravating [in life] as being condescended to by an idiot" ~ Ann Coulter)
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To: cradle of freedom

The speaker is not chosen by secret ballot. On the first day of a new congress, there is a vote for speaker and each house member shouts his choice. The two caucuses usually decide on who their nominee is ahead of time.

The president pro-tempore of the senate is usually the longest serving member of the majority party.

The majority and minority leaders, whips, etc. are chosen by their individual caucuses. Members choose to run for these offices and then try to get enough votes to win. I don’t know if it’s by secret ballot since these elections are always behind closed doors.

As far as I know, the majority and minority leaders choose the committee chairmen, but the members of the committee have a say in the matter.

Overall, very little (if any) legislative business is done by secret ballot.


35 posted on 04/20/2011 5:17:11 AM PDT by cotton1706
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