The Senate Whip System: An Exploration

Erin M. Bradbury, Ryan A. Davidson and C. Lawrence Evans

in Why Not Parties?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2008 | ISBN: 9780226534879
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226534947 | DOI:
The Senate Whip System: An Exploration

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This chapter provides a description of the Senate whip system in action. It provides a degree of support for contentions that majority-party leaders in the chamber influence member behavior and legislative outcomes. The portrait of party influence that emerges from this study, however, diverges in important ways from what is known about leadership influence in the House. By most accounts, majority-party leaders in the House have the procedural prerogatives and other formal advantages necessary to control the floor agenda, typically enabling them to keep items that would divide the majority caucus from appearing on the floor agenda. For the most part, the majority leadership in the Senate lacks these prerogatives. Still, Senate party leaders do play critical roles as negotiators and bargainers on legislation, nominations, and other chamber business. Especially on significant party issues that deeply divide Democrats from Republicans, the compromises and bargains necessary to manage the flow of legislation in the Senate are made or heavily influenced by the top party leaders.

Keywords: whip count; majority leadership; voting behavior; party leadership; Senate leaders

Chapter.  9862 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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