- Ranking member
In United States politics, the ranking member or ranking minority member is a member of a congressional committee from the minority party, frequently the member with the highest
seniority. For example, if the Democrats are in control of a house of Congress at a given time, the senior Republican member of the committee is often the ranking minority member. The most senior member from the majority party frequently serves as the chairmanof the committee. In many committees, the ranking member, along with the chairman, serves as an "ex officio" member of all subcommittees of the committee.
When control of a house of Congress changes, a committee's ranking minority member is likely, though not assured, to become the next chairman of the committee.
Ranking Member vs. Vice Chairman
Four Senate committees refer to the ranking minority member as
Vice Chairman. The following committees follow the Chairman/Vice Chairman structure for the majority and minority parties.
The House of Representatives does not use the term vice chairman for the ranking minority member, though some committees do have a vice chairman position, usually assigned to a senior member of the majority party other than the chairman. House committees that follow this structure are:
*House Committee on Agriculture
*House Committee on Appropriations
*House Committee on the Budget
*House Committee on Education and the Workforce
*House Committee on Energy and Commerce
*House Committee on Financial Services
*House Committee on Government Reform
*House Committee on International Relations
*House Committee on Resources
*House Committee on Veterans' Affairs
*House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (subcommittees only)
Joint Committees of the House and Senate operate in much the same way, with a chairman and vice chairman from the majority party, alternating between a member of the House and member of the Senate, and often two ranking members from both bodies.
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