US Congress: Speaker of the House

27-10-2015

In the wake of the first visit of Pope Francis to the United States in September 2015, John Boehner announced that he would resign one of the most powerful positions in government, the House Speaker, at the end of October. The vote in the House of Representatives for a new Speaker is likely to take place on 29 October and elections for other Republican leadership posts will be held thereafter. John Boehner was first elected to serve as Speaker in November 2010 for the 112th Congress. He was re-elected by the House in January 2013 for the 113th Congress, and again in January 2015 for the 114th Congress. The House Speaker is the political and parliamentary leader of the House of Representatives. He or she is elected by the House of Representatives and the role is the only House leadership position mentioned in Article 1 of the US Constitution (on the legislature). He or she is possibly the most prominent figure on Capitol Hill. Amongst many roles, the Speaker controls the legislative agenda through the House Rules Committee; appoints members of the majority party to committees; defines the priorities of the majority, raises money for the party and negotiates the terms of legislation with Senate leaders and the US President. This multiplicity of roles is argued to be a permanent source of struggle for the Speaker who has to promote the collective interest of the Chamber while simultaneously serving the interests of the House majority party. Looking back, academics argue that the Speakership has largely changed over time not only due to the institutional changes introduced but also because of the different personalities who have held the position.

In the wake of the first visit of Pope Francis to the United States in September 2015, John Boehner announced that he would resign one of the most powerful positions in government, the House Speaker, at the end of October. The vote in the House of Representatives for a new Speaker is likely to take place on 29 October and elections for other Republican leadership posts will be held thereafter. John Boehner was first elected to serve as Speaker in November 2010 for the 112th Congress. He was re-elected by the House in January 2013 for the 113th Congress, and again in January 2015 for the 114th Congress. The House Speaker is the political and parliamentary leader of the House of Representatives. He or she is elected by the House of Representatives and the role is the only House leadership position mentioned in Article 1 of the US Constitution (on the legislature). He or she is possibly the most prominent figure on Capitol Hill. Amongst many roles, the Speaker controls the legislative agenda through the House Rules Committee; appoints members of the majority party to committees; defines the priorities of the majority, raises money for the party and negotiates the terms of legislation with Senate leaders and the US President. This multiplicity of roles is argued to be a permanent source of struggle for the Speaker who has to promote the collective interest of the Chamber while simultaneously serving the interests of the House majority party. Looking back, academics argue that the Speakership has largely changed over time not only due to the institutional changes introduced but also because of the different personalities who have held the position.